Bulgarian Roma Muster Self-Defense Teams in Answer to Far-Right Militias

Society | November 21, 2013, Thursday // 18:02
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Roma Muster Self-Defense Teams in Answer to Far-Right Militias People said to be part of far-right vigilante groups were to be seen in the Sofia city center last week. Photo by chr.bg

A Roma organization in Bulgaria has created a platform for self-defense groups in response to reports of far-right vigilante patrols roaming the streats of Bulgarian capital Sofia.

The platform is called Organization of Minorities for Defense against Violence (OMON), and has been created by the National Center for the Development of Roma in Bulgaria, reports Dnevnik.bg.

Last ween far-right nationalist Bulgarian National Union leader Boyan Rasate announced the creation of militias, allegedly to secure the peace of Sofia residents.

Rasate denied any racist motivations behind the move. At the same time, in the past weeks, there has been an increased number of cases of violence against immigrants and Bulgarians of minority ethnicity.

Dnevnik.bg reports that the Roma Center plans involves "safeguarding Roma neighborhoods and places where public order is being disturbed."

Center director Petko Asenov said that he has talked to Sofia police head Ivaylo Spiridonov and Vice-Chief Prosecutor Asya Petrova regarding rising tensions.

He added that the platform is intended to include Roma people from across Bulgaria.

Increased tensions and an apparent stirring up of the far-right - including the founding of a new, Neo-Nazi-like party - led to an antifascist rally in Bulgarian capital Sofia last Sunday.

At the same time, activists warned that a planned new law regarding the Bulgarian police could pave the way to formalizing the vigilante militias.

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Tags: self-defense, Roma, far-right, neo-Nazi, Boyan Rasate, Bulgarian National Union, sofia, immigrants
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