Bulgarian police stop Ataka campaigners plastering mosque with election posters

Police prevented election campaign staff for Ataka leader Volen Siderov from putting posters of the ultra-nationalist presidential candidate on a mosque in the Bulgarian town of Shoumen, Bulgarian-language media reports said.

Siderov, currently running weakly among the field of Bulgaria’s 18 would-be heads of state, is known for his stance against, among other things, what he terms the Islamisation of Bulgaria and what he alleges to be a threat to the country’s national security by radical Islamists. Some months ago, he and his supporters were involved in a violent clash outside a mosque in central Sofia when the Ataka group protested against loudspeakers calling the faithful to prayer during a Friday service.

Mass-circulation daily 24 Chassa quoted the mayor of the Kaolinovo municipality, Nida Ahmed, as saying that he had called the police after a caravan of Siderov supporters had stopped in the village of Zagoriche and had attempted to plaster a newly-built mosque with Siderov posters. The group, of more than 100 people, said that mosques should be built only in Turkey, according to Ahmed.

Police intervened to stop the group and the matter ended without incident. Under Bulgarian law, putting election campaign material on houses of worship is illegal.

Sofia Echo, 9 October 2011