On a visit to Brussels, Rossen Plevneliev, the candidate for president of the EPP-affiliated GERB ruling party, condemned recent events in the town Katunitsa as “purely criminal actions.” He said the occurrences should not be politicised to avoid the risk of a ‘blame game’. Rather, he insisted, one should hold a real debate about policies.
Violence erupted in Katunitsa last week (23 September) when 19-year old ethnic Bulgaria was reportedly killed by a man employed by Roma mafia boss Kiril Rashkov, known locally as ‘Tsar Kiro’, sparking an unprecedented outburst of anger among the local population and the arson of the crime leader’s property.
More than 500 angry residents gathered in front of one of Rashkov’s houses, hurling stones and setting it on fire, also destroying a flashy Mercedes. A 16-year-old boy collapsed during the protest and later died in hospital of heart failure. Five others were injured.
Many observers agree that in spite of the ethnic dimension, the main thrust of the problem is the impunity which powerful people in Bulgaria obtain vis-à-vis the country’s authorities, independently of their ethnicity.