2007 has got off to a bad start for ethnic minorities in the FYR Macedonia where the hostilities towards those who identify themselves as Bulgarians inside the country has boiled over once again. Given historical sensitivities (in recent years there was a law in FYR Macedonia “to protect the honour of the Macedonian language” were it was a crime to refer to the Macedonian language as being of Bulgarian origin). In the same way it was and still is dangerous for someone to publically identify themselves as Bulgarians in the FYR Macedonia.
13 January 2007, Saturday.
A deliberate anti-Bulgarian campaign has been going on in Macedonia over the past five months, Krassimir Karakachanov, head of the VMRO nationalist movement said.
Karakachanov talked to Darik News about an incident from Saturday morning, when a group of Bulgarians commemorating a local patron were attacked in Macedonia. Some 40 people attacked those gathered to mark 79 years since the death of Mara Buneva, a revered fighter for the rights of the Bulgarians in Macedonia. The attackers were yelling “Die Bulgarians,” and “Go away.” They used rocks and metal pipes, hitting the people gathered to celebrate, who were mostly elderly. Most of the injured have already prepared medical statements, describing their injuries, so they can take the matter to court.
The attack was organized, Karakachanov said, adding that Macedonia’s authorities are seriously ticked by the fact that more and more of their citizens apply for Bulgarian passports. He also commented that the number of Bulgarian unions in Macedonia is increasing and that bothers the government. “People start to openly express their Bulgarian national self-awareness and the government is helpless to do anything but lead campaigns against Bulgaria,” he said.
Bulgaria should ask the EU and NATO to cut all talks with Macedonia until the Saturday attackers are identified, arrested and tried, Karakachanov added. The first thing that the country should do is serve Macedonia a very firm letter of protest, demanding that the organizers and perpetrators of the attack are caught, he added.
Someone in Macedonia has already carried the hatred too far in organizing such an action, but the question is why doesn’t Bulgaria react firmly, Karakachanov fumed.
At present, police have increased their presence before Bulgaria’s embassy in Skopje to prevent more violence.
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