Bulgaria: Romani dwellings demolished in Varna
Radio FOCUS in Bulgaria reports that houses built illegally by their Romani occupants in the Maksuda quarter of the Mladost municipal department of the city of Varna began undergoing demolition yesterday. Residents reportedly threw rocks at police and attempted to attack them during the demolition.
The radio station's online news server reports that a house slated for demolition was set on fire, but the blaze was quickly put out. Residents are reportedly refusing to remove their belongings from the houses and police reinforcements have been called to the scene.
Novinite.com reports that 61 dwellings are slated for demolition but that the number of persons living in them is not at all clear. Both local and national data claim that 520 people, 200 of them children, live in the units.
Hristo Hristov, the mayor of Mladost, estimates there are no more than 60 people living in the condemned buildings, according to Novinite.com. He was reportedly quoted by news server Dnevnik.bg as saying that social housing will be provided to all those who need it following the demolitions.
The Sofia Globe reports that more than 100 police and gendarmes were deployed at the beginning of the demolition. That paper also reports Hristov as saying that the owners of the land on which the Roma dwellings were built had threatened to sue Bulgaria unless the illegal constructions were removed.
The European Court of Human Rights suspended a similar demolition in the town of Garmen, Bulgaria last month until alternative housing was secured for those who would be made homeless by it. The BBC reported one month ago that nationalist parties in Bulgaria were pressuring for the continuation of the demolition and that non-Romani residents of Garmen traveled to the capital, Sofia, to demonstrate for the demolitions go forward.
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