Bulgaria police hurt after horse race ban sparks brawl

Newspaper (Pixabay)

Five Bulgarian police officers were injured in violence sparked after authorities tried to break up an unauthorised horse and cart race in a mainly Roma neighbourhood, police said Monday.

A brawl broke out after police stepped in to stop the race, which police said was not authorised and judged dangerous, between two villages near the central town of Maglizh.

Local police chief Georgy Hadzhiev said around 50 people were involved in the violence, which was sparked when officers tried to arrest one of the organisers. One police officer was bitten on the arm.

A further four police were injured later when they were pelted with stones as they tried to make arrests in the Roma neighbourhood in Maglizh.

Hadzhiev said two people were arrested and a third is sought, adding that “no one should feel untouchable. The police are capable of controlling any quarter”.

Discrimination against Roma in Bulgaria, the EU’s poorest nation, has been widespread since the fall of communism in 1989, leaving them highly marginalised. (AFP)