More than 120 people have been arrested during one of the worst outbreaks of civil unrest in Bulgaria for many years after a teenager was run down and killed in a southern village.
Police and elite national troops patrolled the streets of Katunitsa at the weekend after several houses were set alight and cars owned by a local Roma clan leader were trashed.
The violence in Katunitsa, southeast of Bulgaria's second-largest city of Plovdiv, ignited on Friday night when a 19-year-old man was struck and killed by a mini-bus driven by a man linked to local self-proclaimed "Gypsy Tsar" Kiril Raskov.
"Police took swift and appropriate action to preserve civil peace," interior ministry chief secretary Kalin Georgiev told a news conference in Plovdiv on Sunday. "Some 127 people were arrested while 28 of them were charged with hooliganism."
More than 500 angry residents gathered in front of one of Raskov's houses, Georgiev said, and called for him and his family to be thrown out of the village, which has a population of 2,300.
A 16-year-old boy collapsed during the protest and later died in hospital due to heart failure. His family said he recently underwent heart surgery.
Raskov, 69, known as Tsar Kiro, was convicted several times during pre-1990 Communist times for illegal foreign exchange and gold transactions. In 1998 he founded a political party that aimed to facilitate the entry of Roma gypsies into political and economic life.
ReutersLast Mod: 25 Eylül 2011, 17:13