By Ria Novosti
The Roma community in Bulgaria is preparing to defend themselves during a major anti-Roma protest to take place on Saturday, a leader of the Bulgarian Euroroma party said on Friday.
“A major protest is to take place in downtown Sofia on Saturday, with football fans, right-wing radicals and bikers attending,” said Tsvetelin Kanchev.
He said that he had met with 20 Roma leaders and they agreed on measures to defend themselves.
Bulgaria was hit by small-scale but vigorous anti-Roma rallies after the death of 19-year-old Angel Petrov in the village of Katunitsa in Central Bulgaria last Friday.
Petrov was reportedly knocked over and killed by a minibus driven by a relative of a Roma clan leader Kirill Rashkov.
Thousands of protesters – including nationalists and skinheads – rallied in Plovdiv, Varna, Sofia, Pleven, Burgas and other cities shortly after. Hundreds of people, armed with knives, baseball bats and sticks were detained.
Bulgarian Deputy Interior Minister Veselin Vuchkov said about 900 police will be deployed to maintain public order during the protest.
He said police would be tasked with keeping the protestors away from Roma districts and mosques.