Bulgaria Interior Ministry to Launch Roma Employment Program
Bulgarian Interior Minister Rumyana Bachvarova has said her ministry is starting a program to hire more employees of ethnic Roma origin.
This comes after weeks of tensions between Bulgarian and Roma residents of the village of Garmen, in the country's southwest, and more recently in the Orlandovtsi neighborhood of the capital Sofia.
Bachvarova, who over the last days had shunned media attention despite days-long protests in Orlandovtsi, added the project was currently under way, but would require some time to be carried out.
Initially it will involve 10 municipalities across the country, Bachvarova told public broadcaster BNT on Thursday.
She added police would retain presence in both Garmen (and its Kremikovtsi neighborhood mostly populated by Roma people) and Orlandovtsi to prevent any major escalation.
But she also warned there was evidence of "organization efforts" by certain people who tried to spearhead the protests in both places after they begun.
Ethnic Bulgarians taking part in the protests, often labelled as "anti-Roma", maintain many offenses have been committed against them on behalf of Roma community members and that local authorities have been applying "double standards" for decades, not dealing with criminal activity among the minority group. Roma people for their part say they are subject to discrimination.
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