site.btaVMRO Party Plans Rally in Sofia after Ohrid Incident
A rally will be held in front of the European Commission offices in Sofia on Saturday, January 21 to demand protection for the rights of Macedonian Bulgarians and justice for Hristian Pendikov in Ohrid, North Macedonia, Bulgarian MEP and co-leader of the VMRO party Angel Dzhambazki said.
Pendikov is the Secretary of the King Boris III Bulgarian Cultural Centre in Ohrid. On Thursday evening, he was severely beaten at a local pub. A suspect was later charged with causing Pendikov grievous bodily harm. Pendikov is now in Bulgaria for treatment at the Military Medical Academy in Sofia. The assault triggered an outcry in Bulgaria and rekindled the idea of blocking Skopje's membership negotiations with the European Union.
Dzhambazki alerted the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Court of Justice of the European Union about what he described as "an unprecedented act of aggression in North Macedonia". He called for an immediate reaction from EU institutions, "which have turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the systemic violation of human rights in North Macedonia".
In his message, Dzhambazki argued: "This is a consequence of the aggressive anti-Bulgarian propaganda that politicians, historians and public figures in Skopje have been imposing for years. It is a consequence of the lack of interest of the European institutions, which I have personally approached dozens of times, but the answers were: 'we are monitoring the situation'.
"You exerted enormous pressure on Bulgaria to allow the unreformed North Macedonia to negotiate for EU membership. You spoke to us about European values, even President Macron gave his proposal and Bulgaria agreed. Here is the result. Half a year later, a Bulgarian man from Macedonia is in hospital after an attempted murder. Does someone have to be killed for the EU to react? Will you take a stand after this cynical attack?"
Dzhambazki addressed his message to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, and the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell.