Bulgaria Helsinki Chief Links Assault to Nationalism

Edit_Post_‹_The_Modern_[AfroIn2016-08-19_17-35-48I CARE – – News – Internet Centre Anti Racism Europe – Krasimir Kanev, president of Bulgaria’s Helsinki Committee, said Thursday’s assault on him in Sofia was almost certainly linked to his work, to growing intolerance, and to the refusal of officialdom to deal with hate crimes.

28/10/2016- Helsinki Committee leader Krasimir Kanev told BIRN on Thursday that he was attacked at around 9.30am that day in front of the Radisson hotel in Sofia by two unknown men who punched him in the face and stomach and ran away. Police arrived around 15 minutes later, but the attackers had by then fled from the scene. “There have been many such cases of people insulting, threatening me or spitting at me on the streets,” Kanev said, adding that such incidents had intensified over the past two years. He blamed the attacks in part on the fact that “the patriots are in power”, referring to nationalistic Patriotic Front, an official coalition partner of the center-right government of Boyko Borissov.

The so-called patriots have often accused the Helsinki Committee of being an “anti-national“ organization. The BHC condemned the attack against its president on Thursday, calling on the authorities to identify the attackers. “The BHC stands against all demonstrations of violence. Over the years, employees of the organization have been subjected to harassment and threats many times because of their work on protecting human rights in Bulgaria, but not to physical violence, up to this moment,” the human rights group said. The organisation complained that hate speech against the most vulnerable groups in society had been increasingly “allowed, approved of and even praised. “The aggression has also targeted the few organizations and activists that have taken the task of protecting them [vulnerable groups],” it added.

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