Petition Rises Against Notorious Bulgarian Nationalist LeaderDomestic | May 22, 2011, Sunday // 15:50| views
Volen Siderov, Ataka party leader, is shown here kept away by policemen as his party members attacked praying Muslims. Photo by BGNES
An online petition demanding that controversial Bulgarian nationalist leader Volen Siderov should be stripped of his MP immunity has already been signed by more than 2000 people.
Siderov, leader of the far-right Ataka, (Attack) party, the only parliamentary ally of the ruling centrist-right GERB, is accused is accused of organizing a brutal assault against praying Muslims, thus igniting ethnical tension.
N Friday, nationalists led by their Siderov staged a rally near the Banya Bashi mosque in Sofia protesting against the use of loudspeakers by the mosque and started a brawl in which several people were injured.
"On May 20, a group of Ataka supporters, led by Volen Siderov, launched an unprovoked assault on prayers in a Sofia mosque. The rights of Bulgarian and foreign citizens to express freely their religion were violated," the online petition goes, pointing out the Bulgarian constitution and the country's penal code include texts justifying that Siderov's immunity should be lifted.
In a similar move, Ataka demanded Sunday that ethnic Turcish Movement for Rights and Freedoms leader, Ahmed Dogan, should be also stripped of his MP immunity.
The xenophobic party has sent a petition signed by 5 000 people to the country's Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, demanding Dogan's immunity to be lifted, stating his political formation is promoting "fundamental Islamism", Ataka officials declared at a press conference Sunday, according to the Dnevnik daily.
Earlier on Sunday, the anchor of a popular Bulgarian radio broadcast was forced to interrupt it after Siderov and an ethnic Turkish MP went for a fight while on air. The physical clash was provoked by the nationalist leader, according to the anchor, Velichko Konakchiev.
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