Employees of Bourgas-based television channel SKAT, which formerly was allied to Volen Siderov’s Ataka but now is politically estranged, have lodged a formal complaint with police in the Black Sea city after a clash between a group led by Siderov and a SKAT team on July 5 2013.
Journalist Vanya Chacheva, who is employed by SKAT television channel, and her team said that Siderov and people from his party attacked the SKAT team at a fuel station in the city on
She and her colleagues – four cameramen – have medical certificates about their injuries. Ataka MPs, including Denitsa Gadzheva, allegedly kicked Chacheva, whose legs were bruised after the incident. The cameramen had fingernail scratches.
According to Chacheva, the equipment of the television channel had been damaged.
“At about 4.30pm local time we received information that Ataka MPs were at a petrol station in the residential district of Izgrev. We headed to the place, because we wondered why on Friday, the day when the Parliament holds Question Times, Ataka was not in Parliament, but at the seaside,” Chacheva said, quoted by local media.
“We wanted to know how much it costs Siderov to be in a coalition with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms. When he and his people saw the team, they stood in our way and started jostling and pushing. Several female MPs from the party, including Denitsa Gadzheva, stood behind me and started kicking me in my calves, anklebones and ankles. I have a medical certificate for my bruises. My right calf hurts much. There is also footage showing Siderov hitting hard cameraman Svetlan Atanasov in his kidneys. There were hits at the camera and microphones, curses and swearing,” Chacheva said.
“These people think they are untouchable. Their aggression shifted onto the police officers who arrived at the petrol station later. The SKAT team is comprised of five people and Siderov’s people were 15, plus a team of the party’s television channel. After that Siderov headed to the office of the television channel. There he disrupted the calm in the residential district. The team is shocked,” said the journalist.
Outside SKAT’s heaquarters, Siderov shouted challenges through a megaphone for the channel’s owner, Valeri Simeonov, to come out.
According to Chacheva, there was footage showing Siderov armed with a knife.
Simeonov, formerly a Siderov ally, now has his own party, the National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria, which unlike Ataka did not get enough seats in the May 2013 elections to enter Parliament.
Siderov currently in the subject of a public petition for the removal of his immunity as a member of Parliament from prosecution. Plans were for the petition, which has attracted more than 3000 signatures, to be sent to Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov, who constitutionally has the prerogative to request Parliament to remove the immunity of an MP from prosecution. The petition is a consequence of Siderov’s rhetoric and behaviour in recent weeks, which his critics see as inflammatory and unlawful.
(Main photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)