Bulgaria: Anti-Roma Protests Continue After Alleged Romani Attacks on Teenagers
Another huge anti-Roma protest occurred in Asenovgrad, Bulgaria on Sunday, 2 July. This was the fifth anti-Roma protest that has occurred since nine Romani locals allegedly attacked several teenagers on the local rowing team.
The nine Romani locals who are suspected of targeting the rowers are currently in custody awaiting trial. Despite this, many Bulgarians are still enraged that the fight occurred.
According to the Bulgarian News Agency, “Thousands of Bulgarians from different parts of the country, including rockers and football hooligans, joined a mass anti-Roma rally in Asenovgrad on Sunday evening.” The rally intensified as demonstrators attempted to push through a police barricade in order to reach the Roma neighborhood.
The hundreds of police present were able to prevent severe confrontations, the Bulgarian News Agency reports. From the anti-Roma rally on Sunday, the Bulgarian News Agency reported that police said three people have since been arrested and charged with hooliganism.
One of the people arrested was Petar Nizamov. He is known in Bulgaria for his illegal “citizen’s arrest” of three Afghan migrants in 2016.
Nizamov was cleared of those charges, reportedly due to lack of evidence. Now he awaits sentencing for his actions in the anti-Roma rally.
Tensions remain high in Bulgaria as protesters demand an increase in police presence. Their demands also include improved "integration" of the Roma community and the elimination of illegally-built homes in the Roma locality.
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