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Home / Resources / News / When Right-Wing Extremism Becomes Impune

When Right-Wing Extremism Becomes Impune

It was not long ago that Golden Dawn, an ephemeral extremist party in Greece, became notorious in the political landscape with party members hitting their opponents (above that, it was a female colleague). With the emergence and establishment of the far-right in domestic politics around Europe, the transnational political space is increasingly vulnerable. Xenophobic speech and acts surrounded the latest waves of immigrants coming to Europe due to the Arab Spring, the Syrian crisis or other reasons threatening their physical integrity and lives. Shockingly and similarly, Europeans are about to treat belligerently other Europeans: extremist rhetoric often appears to be the only rescue ship for exhausted conventional politics that fails to listen to the citizenry.
Cartoon by Nikolay Arnaudov
‘Right-wing extremist Siderov and the EU’, by Nikola Arnaudov (c)The Bulgarian political stage has turned into a landmark example of this disturbing trend. While citizens from all social groups and party affiliations have got together for everyday (and night!) rallies in the streets of their cities, towns and villages since June, the precarious government survives with the support of the golden votes of the right-wing extremist group entitled ‘Attack’ represented in the parliament. Some might remember their MEP Dimitar Stoyanov (step-son of the party leader Siderov) who attacked fellow MEP Livia Jaroka on grounds of her Roma origin, but since the government depends on Siderov’s band he and his accomplices are capable of doing any crime (particularly hate crimes) without any penalty. The police would not punish him when he assaults protesters: even the opposite, they would pursue the protesters.

Along with attacking compatriots (though ‘Attack’ announces themselves as the most Bulgarian party) has turned into a daily routine but is now nothing compared to attacks of foreigners. Syrian immigrants are pronounced ‘Islamic terrorists’, ‘jihadists’ and ‘murderers’ through all communication channels ‘Attack’ uses (including their own party TV and newspaper), and foreign politicians stepping in Bulgaria are shouted at with ‘colonists’. In the last few hours Siderov went beyond the last imaginable border: during a flight, where the only authority is exercised by the pilot flying the airplane, he assaulted VERBALLY AND PHYSICALLY a French diplomat. Madam Stephanie du Mortier is a France-born European citizen working for the least dangerous political tool – the cultural institute of France entitled Alliance Francaise, but was unlucky to appear in the same airplane with Siderov and his crowd. Siderov’s physical violence stopped when he landed at Varna airport when the local airport authorities intervened…and be subject to his continuous verbal aggression.

Siderov is still free and even more powerful. He was not charged with any offence, and this is not the first, nor it is going to be the last time that he will be impune. The country’s attorney-in-chief when asked today by worried Bulgarian and European media said that he will not demand Siderov’s immunity to be lifted by the parliament. And there is no surprise. People continued rallying in the streets, knowing that the political control over the law-enforcement and judiciary authorities continues. Siderov will not be surprised by another, more critical report of the European Commission coming out in February (Bulgaria has been always scrutinized by the EU for the unreformed court system and unpunished organised crime that controls the political establishment during the so-called transition to democracy): it is expected that he would use the report as a reason to be more vocal and brutal.

The only hope for Bulgarian citizens remains solidarity of the European citizens. People of other countries rallying in the streets and demanding an EU country with working democracy is what could make a shift, and bring the voice back to people. Until then Siderov-type monsters will grow and mutate throughout the continent, unless citizens are empowered through genuine participatory mechanisms and unite transnationally through platforms like European Alternatives.

Written by:
a Bulgaria-born European that has been rallying for months and gratefully facing the solidarity of fellow European citizens