Amnesty International Urges Bulgaria to Halt Attacks on RomaSociety | October 1, 2011, Saturday // 12:46| views
Riot police and gendarmerie units are seen trying to counter violent anti-Roma protesters in Sofia. Photo by Sofia Photo Agnecy
The human rights organization Amnesty International urges Bulgarian authorities to stop the escalation of violence, expressed in racially-motivated attacks against the Roma community in the country.
"The Bulgarian authorities have the obligation under international human rights law to ensure the security and the physical integrity of everyone, without any discrimination. They have to exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate, punish and provide redress for racially motivated crimes by private individuals or groups," a special declaration of the organization reads.
Amnesty International further point out they are monitoring the situation and are urging Bulgarian authorities to put in place all the necessary measures to stop racially-motivated attacks against Roma and to duly investigate the racial motivation in attacks against Roma neighborhoods and individuals.
"Allegations that law enforcement officers made no attempt to prevent the violence on 24 September should also be subject to a full and effective investigation, with the results made public and anyone found responsible brought to justice," according to the declaration.
Tensions in Bulgaria were sparked by the September 23 murder of Bulgarian youngster, Angel Petrov, 19, who was deliberately run over by a minivan, driven, according to witnesses, by one of the relatives of notorious Roam boss from Katunitsa, Kiril Rashkov AKA Tsar Kiro. The murder led to massive protests of the ethnic Bulgarians in the village, where Tsar Kiro's mansions are located. They culminated Saturday night into the burning of Rashkov's properties by football hooligans from Plovdiv, which is near to Katunitsa, and by football club fans from the capital Sofia and the southern city of Stara Zagora.
From Monday to Thursday night, protests followed in many major Bulgarian cities, including the capital Sofia. Nearly 350 people in total were arrested by the police after the two nights of rallies that involved what has been perceived as ethnic hatred.
Bulgarian authorities have frozen Rashkov's assets and property while he is investigated on tax evasion charges, the revenue agency has confirmed. Interior Ministry Chief Secretary Kalin Georgiev told the morning broadcast of Nova TV channel Wednesday that Rashkov, AKA Tsar Kiro, has been arrested. On Friday the Regional Court in the town of Asenovgrad decided to keep Rashkov behind bars.
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