Bulgaria: Anti-Romani protests in southern town of Radnevo
Anti-Romani unrest broke out last Wednesday in the southern Bulgarian town of Radnevo. Approximately 2 000 Bulgarians demonstrated for a fair investigation of a brawl on Monday between three ethnic Bulgarians and four men from a local Romani family that resulted in serious injuries.
During Wednesday's violent clashes three police officers and four demonstrators were injured, according to the Bulgarian Interior Ministry. The violence broke out in the town of 13 000 after the crowd began to shout various anti-Romani slogans as well as "Bulgaria for Bulgarians", "Bulgarian heroes", "Bulgaria above all" as they marched toward the town's Romani quarter, which was defended by riot police according to the Bulgarian media.
Some protesters attempted to break through the barricades and threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at police. According to the Mayor of Radnevo, Tenyo Teneva, the people who attempted to break through the barricades were football hooligans from the nearby town of Stara Zagora.
Tenevs told Bulgarian public television broadcaster BTV that the incident that sparked the tension was allegedly caused by a Romani family with whom there have allegedly long been problems. On Thursday a judge authorized the criminal prosecution on charges of attempted murder of four Romani men who allegedly assaulted the Bulgarian youths and remanded them into custody.
In Bulgaria during recent years tension between ethnic Bulgarians and Romani people has broken out more than once, usually in the context of the commission of criminal activity. The most violent clashes happened in 2011 when anti-Romani protests were held throughout the entire country in response to a tragic accident in the southern Bulgarian village of Katunitsa that resulted in the deaths of two Bulgarian youths.
Last year demonstrators threatened the Romani ghetto in the southern Bulgarian village of Garmen. Police prevented violence from occurring in that case.
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