Roma in Bulgaria’s Garmen Have Started Voluntarily Demolishing Illegal Buildings
Only 24 houses in the Roma neighborhood of Kremikovtsi in the southwestern village of Garmen are legal, according to the results of joint inspections of power distributor CEZ, Bugaria's National Construction Control Directorate, and the Social Assistance Directorate.
The owners of the remaining 124 illegal buildings have been given a deadline to demolish them voluntarily or else pay for the government-ordered forced demolition.
The residents have started demolishing some of the buildings, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Radio.
Roma residents of the Kremikovtsi neighborhood say that some 500 locals have already left the country to try to find seasonal jobs in Greece.
Meanwhile the Garmen municipality has announced that the illegal buildings can be legalized if the owners purchase the land on which they have been built at the price of BGN 1.20 per square meter.
A working group established at the initiative of Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova is looking for an appropriate building to accommodate the Roma families that will be left without a home.
Garmen has been the site of ethnic clashes over the past 7 days.
Police stepped up presence in the area after a brawl between Bulgarians and Roma.
Residents of the Garmen municipality urged the local authorities to evict the people living in illegal buildings in the Kremikovtsi neighborhood in a week, threatening to hold a massive protest on June 2.
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