One Roma killed in bloody racial clashes in Sofia

Sofia, 15.08.2007 10:59

At least one man was killed late on Tuesday night when a huge mob of Roma people gathered in the Sofia district of Krasna Polyana for a revenge of Monday night's mass brawl in the district between Roma and skinheads.

The mob, consisting of around 400 Roma, armed with axes, cudgels and stones, gathered in the Sofia's district where a Vietnamese community lives, demolishing everything that crossed their path.

The police are still investigating the circumstances of the Monday's brawl, but Roma witnesses claimed it was retaliation for an assault the previous night, when 30 skinheads reportedly attacked three Roma teenagers, one of whom was badly beaten.

Between 20 and 30 people were involved in the brawl, although witnesses' reports are contradictory, the police said.

The racial dimension of the clashes is somewhat fueled up by some local media by attaching the derogatory terms "Gypsies" for the Roma involved and claiming that they had chanted "Death for Bulgarians".

Editorial Comment:

If it should indeed be true that the Roma involved had chanted "Death for Bulgarians" then they are no better than those who have been perpetrating the acts against them. We cannot and must not allow ourselves to get down to the same level as those Nazis. While we must fight them we must do this in a different and measured way. It is us who will be made out to look the criminals when such slogans are being chanted. This is like the Rom going and chanting “death to the Gadje”. We cannot and must not stoop that low.

M V Smith, August 18, 2007