Anti-Roma racism in Bulgaria

This video is called French Roma expulsions spark racism warning.

By Anna Rombach:

Violence against Roma in Bulgaria

7 October 2011

Bulgaria has recently witnessed violence against Roma for the first time. There were violent demonstrations in the capital Sofia and 14 other cities, including Plovdiv, Varna and Pleven, against the Roma minority, estimated at half a million out of a population of 7.5 million. In the forefront of the demonstrations were local Nazi gangs, who exploited the death of two Bulgarian youths for their own purposes.

See also here.

Using Ethnic Tensions for Political Games (and Gains): Anti-Roma Protests in Bulgaria. Elana Faye Resnick, Truthout: “Anti-Roma sentiment continues to spread throughout Bulgaria, just in time for the presidential elections on October 23…. Yes, protests against Roma are dangerous and must be stopped before violence ensures, but this wave of anti-Gypsy sentiment is an important symptom of larger political and economic issues – of countrywide poverty, high-level government corruption and the misuse of European Union (EU) funds. Right now, most people want a Band-Aid, but what they need most is to look at what created this massive societal wound”: here.

5 thoughts on “Anti-Roma racism in Bulgaria

  1. Workers at Bulgaria’s uncertain Lead-Zinc Complex protest non-payment of wages

    Bulgaria’s Lead and Zinc Complex is being targeted by employees for civil disobedience over unpaid wages.

    The Lead and Zinc Complex stopped functioning at the end of last year and its owner, Valentin Zahariev, owes four months’ wages to the 519 workers, according to the Bulgarian National Television (BNT).

    Staff had called on Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to come up with a plan for solving the company’s problems by June 20, threatening to stage roadblocks at main road arteries in Kardzhali if their demands were unmet.

    The Polish consortium Silesia is said to be the only investor still interested in renting the plant, the two other candidates reported as having withdrawn.


  2. Bulgaria nationalists rally in support of Muslims’ trial

    By Angel Krasimirov

    PAZARDZHIK, Bulgaria | Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:35am EDT

    (Reuters) – Hundreds of nationalists rallied in a southern Bulgarian town on Monday in support of the prosecution of 13 religious leaders accused of spreading radical Islam in a case causing communal strains in the Balkan country.

    The trial, just months after a suicide bomber killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian driver at the Black Sea port of Burgas, has tested a delicate ethnic balance between the country’s minority Muslims and its Orthodox Christian majority.

    Prosecutors in the southern town of Pazardzhik have charged 12 Bulgarian citizens, most of them Muslim prayer leaders, and one woman for preaching radical Islam between 2008 and 2010. Three of them are also charged with inciting religious hatred.

    Protesters, led by far-right parties Attack and VMRO, waved banners reading “Our religion is Bulgaria” and “Tough sentences for fanatics”, and said the march aimed to counter gatherings of Muslims in front of the courthouse in support of the accused.

    The suspects, who deny any wrongdoing, face up to five years in prison if convicted.

    They are accused of working with an unregistered branch of Al Waqf-Al Islami, an Islamic foundation set up in the Netherlands and funded mainly by “Salafi circles” from Saudi Arabia, the court said, referring to an ultra-conservative brand of Islam.

    About 100 Muslims also rallied near the court under heavy police protection in support of the accused, saying the 13 had preached only traditional Islam. Bulgaria’s Mufti Office has also declared its support for the accused.

    The trial has the potential to threaten a culture of tolerance in Bulgaria, where Muslims make up about 12 percent of the 7.3 million population, analysts said.

    Bulgaria is the only European Union (EU) country where Muslims are not recent immigrants but a centuries-old local community, mostly ethnic Turkish descendants of Ottoman rule that ended in 1878.

    “Trials like this could dramatically raise tension in the places where Bulgarian Muslims live,” said Antonina Zhelyazkova, head of the Sofia-based International Center for Minority Studies.

    The trial has revived memories of the 1980s when hundreds of Muslims were forced to change their names to Bulgarian ones and over 300,000 left the country as a result of a campaign by late communist dictator Todor Zhivkov to revive mainstream Bulgarian culture.

    Nationalist parties are also trying to use the trial to gain popularity before a general election next year, analysts said.

    Israel has accused Iran and the Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah of being behind the Burgas attack. Iran has denied the charge and accused Israel of carrying it out.

    (Editing by William Maclean)


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