Bulgaria's Far Right on the Defensive, Vows to Counter 'Islamist Aggression'

Domestic | May 24, 2011, Tuesday // 19:12|  views

Volen Siderov, the vocal leader of the far-right and nationalist party Ataka, pictured here at a rally in 2008. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

Bulgaria's far-right and nationalist party Ataka has started a campaign against the demands that it should be banned, while declaring itself as the "last bastion against Islamist aggression."

After last Friday, activists of the Ataka party led by its leader Volen Siderov assaulted praying Muslims in the Banya Bashi mosque in downtown Sofia during a protest rally against the loudspeakers used by the mosque, there have been petitions by the civil society and by the ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) for a ban of the nationalist party for instigating ethnic and religious hatred.

Sofia City Prosecutor Nikolay Kokinov has made it clear that the prosecution will investigated the party on these charges and will consider banning it.

Siderov and other members of the Ataka leadership, MP Desislav Chukolov and Borislav Stoyanov, reacted on Tuesday, May 24, the Day of Slavic Script and Bulgarian Culture, by posting banners on the Slaveykov Square in downtown Sofia.

The Ataka leadership has demanded a referendum on whether their party should be banned, as demanded by DPS.

The banners entitled "DPS Wants to Ban Ataka!" stated that Ataka is the only political power which defends Bulgaria's national interest in Parliament.

"Those who robbed Bulgaria are scared from "Ataka". Ataka is a cause and nobody can ban the cause of bulgarianism. Bulgarians, will let them ban the Ataka party so that the last obstacle before the Islamist aggression against Orthodox Bulgaria is eliminated? Will you allow the anti-Constitutional Turkish party DPS to triumph, to be a victor in the mean war against Bulgarian spirit?" says the Ataka party in its banners and posters.

"If the prosecution thinks so, let them ban us. Let them remove the last hurdle that obstructs those anit-Bulgarian, mafia robbers who govern the country in past 20 years. Let them place Islamic prayer carpets all over downtown Sofia so that you can no longer walk there, on the carpets that are occupied by Islamists," Siderov stated upon posting the banners with his colleagues.

During Friday's incident, Siderov's supporters grabbed Muslim prayer carpets and burned them, causing shock in the society.

The Ataka party and Siderov personally, however, did reject the reports that they are planning to stage a new rally at the Sofia mosque during the weekly prayer on Friday.

Siderov also sought to refute the information contained in US diplomatic cables leaked on WikiLeaks, such as a 2009 cable by former US Ambassador Nancy McEldowney that Siderov's party Ataka and the ethnic Turkish party DPS (Movement for Rights and Freedoms) work in actual symbiosis by using each other's actions to consolidate electoral support.

He said those reports are untrue, and the US diplomatic corps was misinformed about his party.

"Ataka does not work for any other state. It is not a servant of Russian interests, it has not been funded by oligarchs. In 2005, we badly needed funding but we have never received a single lev from a Bulgarian or foreign oligarch," Siderov said.

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Tags: Ataka, nationalists, far-right, Volen Siderov, DPS, Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Nikolay Kokinov, Prosecutor's Office, Referendum, radical Islamism, radical Islam, Desislav Chukolov, Bulgarian Muslims, muslims


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