Ethnic Bulgarians Refuse to Accept Romani Neighbours
11 March 2005
According to a September 23, 2004 press release of the Bulgarian non-governmental organisation Romani Baht Foundation (RBF), the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence announced its intention to donate military barracks to the Municipality of Sofia to be placed in the nearby village of Chelopetchene, apparently to house a number of Romani inhabitants from several districts in the city. The move is reportedly in reaction to constant complaints by ethnic Bulgarians living in the vicinity of the Romani neighbourhoods. However, the announcement also caused dissatisfaction amongst residents of Chelopetchene, who, according to the RBF have threatened to block the highway if Sofia authorities attempt to move the Roma into their community. Following protests by the residents of Chelopetchene, Sofia authorities decided against the relocation. As of February 25, 2005, RBF informed the ERRC that some of the Roma who were to be relocated were living in makeshift shacks by a highway while others had moved in with family.