Crisis HQs Set in Plovdiv to Deal with Bulgarian-Roma Tensions

Domestic | September 26, 2011, Monday // 12:09|  views

Bulgarian President, Georgi Parvanov, cancelled his Monday agenda in order to travel to Plovdiv where ethnic tensions escalated over the weekend. Photo by BGNES

Crisis headquarters have been established in Bulgaria's second largest city of Plovdiv to prevent further escalation of ethnic tensions and any new incidents of violence.

The news was reported Monday by the Mayor in Charge of the city, Alexander Dolev, who explained the move was planned in the presence of President, Georgi Parvanov, representatives of the municipal administration, the Regional Directorate of the Interior Ministry, the State Agency for National Security, DANS, and the City Hall.

The headquarters are to act under full coordination between the different institutions; there are also concrete measures to not allow protests and riots in the Roma districts of Stolipinovo and "Adzhissan Mahala."

Dolev further pointed out the decision has been made in the aftermath of Sunday tensions in these districts.

Parvanov declined comments for the media on the grounds he would speak up only after meeting with Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, who is also in Plovdiv. The two cancelled their Monday agendas in order to deal with the situation.

The news about the move 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.

Meanwhile, in a Monday morning interview for bTV, Borisov, when commenting on the events in Katunitsa, vowed to bring impunity in Bulgaria to an end.

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