Social Tensions in Assenovgrad not Subsiding
Social Tensions in Assenovgrad, Southern Bulgaria, have not subsided. Thousands of the town’s residents met for a rally yesterday to protest against illegally residing Roma Gypsies and their lawless acts.
The protest rally was peaceful but with heavy police presence, especially close to the Roma neighbourhood.
More than 2,000 people joined a protest outside the Town Hall in the town on 28th of June with calls for ensuring their security.
A meeting was held with the Mayor of Asenovgrad municipality on 29th of June attended by all the affected parties - parents of the injured contestants, citizens who participated in the protest, as well as experts from the municipal administration.
Yordan Todorov, the father of one of the injured children says his child has a broken arm and his daughter has anxiety. “ I just want to call for a reconsideration of the decision for municipal police in the town that was rejected by the town council," he said.
In response to the requests of the citizens, the Interior Ministry and the gendarmerie started massive checks in the Roma neighborhood in Assenovgrad. According to official data, more than 10,000 people live there. However, residents say in the recent years their number has increased many times, according to BNT.
Assenovgrad residents demand bringing down illegal dwellings in the Roma neighbourhood and displacing Roma without address registrations.
The problems in Assenovgrad started on 26 June when a group of Roma attacked children who are trained in the local kayaking club at the dam of 40 Springs. The conflict continued with a beating of the athletes in the center of the town and outside the hospital in which rowers and their coach were injured. Nine from the Roma attackers have been arrested.
They are facing charges of hooliganism with a high degree of arrogance and cynicism. Some of the attackers are also facing charges of attempted murder and murder threats.
Some protesters, however, argue that their demonstration has been corrupted by provocators who have been football fans - vaguely local whether or not, who chanted racist appeals, according to bTV.
To relieve the tension, special police officers and a fire fighting team arrived at the place of the incident.
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