Illegal Roma Buildings in Bulgaria's Garmen 'Remain Intact'
Roma people in the Bulgarian village of Garmen have not yet started to remove buildings erected illegally in the Kremikovtsi neighborhood, officials say.
According to the Ministry of Regional Development, all buildings have remained intact since mid-May when tensions started to build up in the southwestern Bulgarian village.
On May 24, a brawl over music played too loudly in the Kremikovtsi neighborhood, which has a predominant Roma population, grew into clashes between the Roma minority and representatives of the ethnic Bulgarian majority in Garmen.
Bulgarians demanded that the law treat them and the Roma equally, tackling petty crimes against Bulgarians and providing for illegal housing in Kremikovtsi to be demolished.
In a week, Roma community members said they had begun dismantling the buildings, and later some claimed they would purchase the land they used to set up their home.
But officials now say no single family living in any of the 124 houses has taken the step until this moment (June 16).
The ministry's press office has added that cleaning up the area would start by June 29.
Bulgaria is heading for local elections this autumn, and experts are divided in their judgment as to whether the developments in Garmen, and more recently in the Orlandovtsi neighborhood in the capital Sofia, are anyhow linked to the vote.
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