PM: Impunity Will Stop with Bulgarian-Roma Violence

Domestic | September 26, 2011, Monday // 10:15|  views

Bulgarian PM, Boyko Borisov, says Roma are a huge problem for the State because they are the majority of the unemployed and uneducated citizens. Photo by BGNES

Impunity in Bulgaria is not going to continue, according to Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov.

Borisov spoke Monday morning in a phone interview for the TV channel bTV, commenting on tensions between ethnic Bulgarians and Roma in the village of Katunitsa in southern Bulgaria, which spread Sunday to the second largest city of Plovdiv.

"It does not matter if we like each other or not – we will have to live together and there is no other alternative," Borisov stressed.

He informed that Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, had ordered a probe of the real estate properties and assets of notorious Katunitsa Roma boss, Kiril Rashkov AKA Tsar Kiro, 10 days ago, before the incidents in the village, but declined offering further details on the grounds the investigation involves classified information related to a possible tax crime. The PM only said the probe includes Rashkov and 10 other individuals.

"The probe will not be good for them, but I do not want to comment any further. People should rest assured that Tsar Kiro will not continue to live the way he had been doing it in the last 22 years. I would not offer any more details, because there are Roma and Bulgarians, Muslims and Christians, who are doing things that the law permits, but morals reject. I am deeply saddened by the death of the two boys," Borisov explained.

When asked if the passiveness of the State had been the reason for the violence, the PM replied the notion of State is too vague and all three – the Interior Ministry, the Prosecutor's Office and the Court have their own responsibilities along with all authorities, who, for a long time, closed their eyes when Tsar Kiro was selling illegal alcohol.

"I am convinced this is going to end here. As far as political comments on the incidents – if this is a way to win elections in Bulgaria, the future of the country looks quite gloomy. There are so many things we need to work on – 20 plus years of missed time. No, my fault – from the time of the Socialist regime, since Roma should have never been moved to these ghettos. Their group is a huge problem for the State because they are the majority of our unemployed and uneducated citizens," Borisov concluded.

The interview came on the backdrop of information that tensions in Katunitsa are slowly subsiding and the situation remained calm Sunday night into Monday.

Nevertheless, hundreds of police and firefighters are still in the village, guarding all possible points where conflicts can arise.

A number of Katunitsa residents are quoted saying the protests will last until the family of notorious Roma boss Kiril Rashkov AKA Tsar Kiro is deported and the law is applied fully.

Tensions in the entire Plovdiv region escalated after Rashkov's Roma associates from the Plovdiv district of Stolipinovo ran over and killed 19-year-old Angel Petrov from the village late Friday. The incident flared large-scale violence and protests which culminated Saturday night in an attack on Rashkov's properties, allegedly staged by several hundred football fans.

Monday is a day of mourning in the village. Angel was buried Sunday with a crowd of over 2 000 gathering to bid farewell to the young man. The mourning father insists his son was killed on Tsar Kiro's orders.

A day before the incident, the following threat had been published in the Facebook profile of one of Rashkov's grandsons: "The one who is my enemy should die in a traffic accident!"

Pavel, 16, a friend of Angel, will be buried Monday. He passed out during the attacks on Rashkov's properties Friday and later died in the hospital. The boy had a bypass surgery several years ago.

It was reported meanwhile that President, Georgi Parvanov, is attending Monday a work meeting in Plovdiv dedicated to the tensions in Katunitsa. The Chief of the Plovdiv police, Commissar, Todor Chonov, the Deputy Mayor of Plovdiv, Alexander Dolev, and the Deputy Governor of the Plovdiv Region, Georgi Ignatov, are also going to participate in the debate. Parvanov cancelled his previously scheduled agenda for Monday in order to visit Plovdiv.

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