Bulgarian Roma on High Alert over Ethnic Tensions

Society | September 28, 2011, Wednesday // 18:35
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Roma on High Alert over Ethnic Tensions Some 100 Roma citizens gathered in the Northern city of Ruse Wednesday. BGNES

Bulgarian Roma are on high alert across the country in the aftermath of the protests that recently loomed against them.

Over 300 people have gathered in Plovdiv's Stolipinovo, the largest Roma-inhabited quarter in Bulgaria, after a local Roma man died in the early hours of Wednesday. Police authorities say the man perished in a car accident, but the Roma suspect foul play.

The situation in Stolipinovo is considered normal, but tensions may escalate, Darik radio has reported.

Some 100 Roma citizens gathered in the Northern city of Ruse, the BGNES news agency informs. After several of their houses were reportedly attacked late on Tuesday, they have decided to create "emergency crews", BGNES says.

A rumor that Roma children have been beaten in the Southeastern town of Sliven gathered armed Roma in a local schoolyard on Wednesday. Late on Tuesday, another Roma gathering occurred in the Southeastern town of Dimitrovgrad, where people were apparently frightened by a rumor that rockers linked with right-wing groups may attack them.

The recent death of Bulgarian youngster Angel Petrov, who was allegedly deliberately run over by a mini-bus driven by a relative of notorious Roma crime boss Kiril Rashkov aka Tsar Kiro, led to massive protests of the ethnic Bulgarians in the southern village of Katunitsa. They culminated Saturday night into the burning of Rashkov's properties by football hooligans from Plovdiv, which is near to Katunitsa.

On Monday and Tuesday night, protests followed in many major Bulgarian cities, including the capital Sofia. Nearly 300 people in total were arrested by the police after the two nights of rallies that unfortunately involved what has been perceived as ethnic hatred.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Rashkov has been detained by the police.

Since the protests started, it has been reported that Roma population across the country awaited attacks, armed with shovels, axes, sticks, and guns at some spots.

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Tags: Kiril Rashkov, Katunitsa, Roma, mafia boss, tensions, Ruse, Stolipinovo

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