3 Indictments over Nationalists-Muslim Clashes in Sofia

Crime | May 21, 2011, Saturday // 13:29|  views

The supporters of the nationalist Ataka party set on fire rugs Muslims use to pray. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

The Sofia City Prosecutor's Office had opened three legal cases over the Friday clashes between supporters of Bulgaria's far-right, nationalist Ataka party and Muslims in downtown Sofia.

The information was reported Saturday by the private channel bTV, citing the Prosecutor's Office spokesperson, Rusi Alexiev.

Several people were arrested after Ataka supporters started a brawl, assaulting Muslims during their Friday prayer in Sofia's Banya Bashi mosque. Party leader, Volen Siderov, stated in the aftermath his followers were in downtown Sofia for a "peaceful" protest; demanded immediate release of the detainees, threatening to withdraw his support for the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria, GERB, party.

Bulgarian President, Georgi Parvanov, and all major political groups strongly condemned the incident while the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee appealed to authorities to investigate and ban Ataka if proven responsible for the clash.

The first indictment, Alexiev says, is for hooliganism against two Ataka supporters. They have been interrogated and released. The second one is against an unknown perpetrator for injuring Ataka Member of the Parliament, Denitsa Gadzheva. The third is over injuring police officers on duty.

Meanwhile, Turkey strongly condemned the incident, calling it a racist attack on people praying in a mosque in Bulgaria.

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Tags: nationalist, Ataka, leader, Volen Siderov, muslims, friday prayer, banya bashi mosque, sofia, nationalists, brawl, attack, Ankara, turkey, condemns, indictment, Sofia City Prosecutor's Office, case, legal


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