Members of Parliament from two of the parties in Bulgaria’s ruling axis, the Bulgarian Socialist Party and Ataka, have pledged court action against a theologian who shouted “resign!” at them on a ferry boat from Mount Athos in Greece.
The incident was reported, along with video footage taken by theologian Svetozar Stoyanov, on October 29, some days after the incident which took place as MPs from all four of the parties in Bulgaria’s current National Assembly were on the boat from the site famed for its Eastern Orthodox Christian monasteries.
Stoyanov told the media that the MPs, Pavel Shopov from ultra-nationalists Ataka and Hristo Monov and Ivan Ivanov from the BSP, attempted to force him to delete or hand over the video footage and arranged the intervention of the Bulgarian consul as well Stoyanov’s detention by Greek police.
Stoyanov’s repeated “resign!” call to them was a reference to the several months of public protests demanding the resignation of the current Bulgarian Socialist Party government.
Monov told Bulgarian television station bTV that during the incident, Shopov had behaved “very appropriately and calmly” but alleged that Stoyanov had lost control of his emotions: “the muscles of his face quivered, he was unable to control them – either it was a rush of adrenaline or he had fallen into a mental state”.
According to Monov, Stoyanov had assaulted Ivanov, whose leg was bruised in the incident.
The Bulgarian consul in Thessaloniki, Vassil Vulchev, denied that there had been physical violence but confirmed to bTV that he had summoned Greek police to detain the theologian.
Vulchev said that had he not done so, the authority of the state would have been diminished. He said that his conduct had been “objective” and denied any other involvement in the incident.
According to Vulchev, Greek law was harsh on hooliganism at sea. Stoyanov had been set to stay under arrest for three days for disorderly conduct but Bulgarian MPs had “saved” him.
The Ataka and BSP MPs said that they would bring a joint action against Stoyanov because he had not turned off his camera while shouting “resign!” at them.
“If proven guilty, I understand, for three to five years he would not be able to visit Greece. He would not be welcome in the country because he violated its laws,” Monov said.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)