World Bulletin/News Desk
A man drew a gun and aimed at an ethnic Turkish politician who was delivering a speech on Saturday during a congress of his party in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital.
The man jumped on the stage and pointed his gun at Ahmed Dogan, the leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), but he could not fire his weapon and just seconds later he was knocked down by party members to the ground.
Television footage showed the man jumping out of the audience and interrupting a speech by 58-year-old Dogan, who has led the party for almost a quarter of a century. Security guards were seen beating and kicking the attacker.
It was not immediately clear why the assailant could not fire his gun and how he got passed the security to enter the hall where nearly 3,000 people were gathered for the congress.
Party members captured the assailant after a brief on-stage scuffle and handed him over to the security forces.
MRF's Deputy Chairman Lutfi Mestan said Dogan was in good condition.
MRF represents Bulgaria's nearly 600,000 ethnic Turks who make up 8.8 percent of the population.
The liberal MRF party represents ethnic Turks and other Muslims who make up about 12 percent of Bulgaria's 7.3 million-strong population.
Dogan is seen as one of Balkan country's most influential political figures. The MRF was a junior partner in the previous Socialist-led cabinet.
During his speech, Dogan was expected to announce that he was leaving his post and to lend support for HÖH Deputy Chairman Lütfi Mestan.
Attacker identified as a 25-year-old man with initials O.E. from the coastal city of Burgas, the press office of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry announced.
He was carrying a gas pistol and two knives. The 25-year-old man has a criminal record for hooliganism, causing physical injuries and robbery.
It did not identify the target of the civil action, which coincides with criminal inquiries into suspected fraud underway in Belgium and the Netherlands.
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