Bulgarian Interior Minister Vows Not to Allow Escalation of Tensions
Bulgaria's Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov has declared that the government will not allow an escalation of Friday's incident in which far-right extremists from the Ataka party assaulted praying Muslims.
Tsvetanov has largely been blamed for the incident as the police are said to have been supposed to prevent the outburst which occurred while the nationalists led by their leader Volen Siderov staged a rally near the Banya Bashi mosque in Sofia protesting against the use of loudspeakers by the mosque.
"Let's not pull out the ethnic card because of the upcoming elections," Tsvetanov commented Saturday evening as cited by BNR, reiterating other opinions that Ataka leader Volen Siderov is instigating religious and ethnic clashes in order to beef up support for his party.
The Ataka party is the only ally of the ruling center-right party GERB and its minority government, even though they are not in a formal coalition. Siderov has threatened to withdraw his support from the government saying that it tolerated the Muslims.
"We are not going to allow anything having to do with a deepening of this problem," the Interior Minister said in his brief comment on the incident, alleging that the police have reacted "extremely adequately" to the situation near the mosque.
He dismissed the calls for his resignation over the incident by the Blue Coalition, saying he did not want to comment statements by persons using the weekend in order to get into news emissions.
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