Bulgarian Nationalist Extremist Faces Racism Suit

Society | May 9, 2010, Sunday // 15:39|  views

Bulgarian nationalist Boyan Rasate (the only one not in uniform) during a press conference in 2007 in which his movement "National Guard" talks about what they described as "Roma terror" over Bulgarians in the Zaharna Fabrika quarter in Sofia. Photo by BG

Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection from Discrimination has raised racism charges against vocal far-right leader Boyan Rasate.

The first sitting of the trial will take place on Monday, May 10, 2010, the Commission has announced.

Rasate is sued for his statements made in a Nova TV and Darik Radio talk show in which he declared himself against the acceptance of “Third World refugees” by Bulgaria.

“Rasate’s statements are xenophobic, racist, and stir prejudice and discrimination against people of a different race, nationality, ethnic group, human genome, citizenship or origin,” says the Commission statement.

He is accused of using manipulative and discriminatory rhetoric by likening dark-skinned people to monkeys, defining refugees as “exotic representatives of unknown peoples”, and presenting them as a crime risk factor. He is also said to have presented the refugees coming from non-European countries as unable to integrate into European societies “because of their genetic structure.”

Two years ago, Bulgaria’s anti-discrimination commission raised homophobia charges against Boyan Rasate but they could not be proven subsequently.

In 2009, Rasate was charged again because of comments that he made in his former talk show “National Guard” where he described people of the Roma ethnicity as “gypsy parasites”, “persons dealing with robbery and prostitution”, “murderers slaughtering dozens of Bulgarians”.

The charge was raised by Roma leader Toma Nikolaev, the founder of the Roma information agency De Facto (currently inactive). Nikolaev is known to be close to Volen Siderov, the leader of the major Bulgarian right-wing nationalist party “Ataka”; Siderov and Rasate have been tangled in a personal conflict and legal battles for a couple of years.

The Roma discrimination case against Boyan Rasate was thrown into the hands of the Supreme Administrative Court where the nationalist was acquitted and won the case because according to the ruling his words were true and reflected the actual situation in Bulgaria.

Rasate is known as the leader of the minor but vocal far-right party Bulgarian National Union GUARD. In 2007, his movement announced the setting up of a "National Guard" aimed at protecting Bulgarians against "Roma terror" but the paramilitary formation was outlawed.

He is also known for being arrested as one of the instigators of the Molotov cocktail attacks against Bulgaria’s first ever gay pride parade, which took place in Sofia in June 2008.

In April 2010, Rasate got in a car accident with the owner of the Balkanski Circus in Sofia, which led to a fight and exchange of insults, with the nationalist allegedly offending the non-Bulgarian staff of the circus because of their ethnic origin.

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Tags: Boyan Rasate, Commission for Protection against Discrimination, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, suit, Roma, refugees, Third World


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