It’s interesting times in Bulgaria, last week witnessing “the country’s worst outbreak of unrest in more than a decade”. According to one report (Bulgarian Police Arrest 168 People in Second Night of Violence, Elizabeth Konstantinova, Bloomberg Business Week, September 28, 2011):
The violence was triggered after Roma clan leader Kiril Rashkov in the Katunitsa village, near the second city of Plovdiv, was blamed for the death of 19-year-old Angel Petrov during the weekend, Vesselin Vuchkov, deputy interior minister, said yesterday. Villagers set on fire several of Rashkov’s cars and houses in retaliation.
The New York Times (Anti-Roma Demonstrations Spread Across Bulgaria, Matthew Brunwasser, September 27, 2011):
The news media referred to the protests as “pogroms.” The protesters shouted racist slogans like “Gypsies into soap” and “Turks under the knife.”
The police guarded entrances to Roma neighborhoods across the country as demonstrators announced protests on Tuesday evening in 20 cities, including Sofia, the capital. Roma men are reported to have taken up clubs and axes in response to rumors of invasions by boneheads.
A Presidential election is scheduled for October 23. The Roma-hatin’ ultra-nationalists of National Union Attack/Ataka are standing Parliamentary leader Volen Siderov (Bulgarian anti-Roma protests escalate, Valentina Pop, EU Observer, October 3, 2011): “Ahead of the presidential elections on 23 October, far-right Ataka party leader Volen Siderov tried to capitalise on the tensions and called for the death penalty to be reinstated and for Roma “ghettos” to be dismantled.” Both Turks and the United Nations are reportedly worried about the growth in anti-Roma and, potentially, anti-Turk sentiment in the country ahead of the elections.