Romanian Football Fans Support Bulgarians in 'Roma Case'Society | October 2, 2011, Sunday // 11:28| views
"Bulgaria is for Bulgarians, not for dirt," a poster held by Zenit fans said in Bulgarian during the game between Zenit and Portuguese team Porto on Wednesday. Photo by championat.ru
Fans of Romanian second-division Politechnica Timisoara have joined Russian supporters of Zenit Saint Petersburg in flying a pro-Bulgarian sign after a week of ethnic unrest.
Since last Saturday, Bulgaria has been grappled by a wave of ethnic tension, after the murder of an ethnic Bulgarian youth by Roma in the village of Katunitsa provoked nationwide protests that deteriorated into anti-Roma rallies.
At their game against UTA, Politechnica fans raised a sign written in Bulgarian, saying "Rise, rise, hero from the Balkan! Go Bulgarians!"
"Rise, rise, hero from the Balkan" is the first line of a popular Bulgarian national revival song from the 19th century.
Earlier this week fans of top Russian club Zenit Saint Petersburg had also voiced support in a Champions League game against Porto.
Their sign, regrettably carrying racist overtones, read "Bulgaria is for Bulgarians, not for Dirt".
Back in Bulgaria, football fans supporting various clubs were the driving force behind some of the more violent protests.