Bulgarian Nationalists Assault Muslims in Front of Mosque

Supporters of the Bulgarian far right Ataka (Attack) party started a brawl in downtown Sofia, assaulting Muslims during their Friday prayer.

The nationalists staged a rally in front of the Sofia's Banya Bashi mosque, protesting the fact it has loudspeakers that sound Muslim prayers in the entire area around it.

As one of the protesters tried to remove a prayer rug from the space in front of the mosque, tension escalated and a fight started between the two groups, the BGNES news agency says. At least one of the Muslims has been injured.

Ataka supporters were reported shouting "Bulgaria" and "Turks, get out", as well as throwing eggs at the praying.

The nationalist party is the only parliamentary ally of Bulgaria's ruling centrist-right GERB party, which formed a minority government in 2009.

The Banya Bashi mosque in downtown Sofia is a part of the city's unique "triangle of tolerance", encompassing also the St Nedelya Church, and the Sofia Synagogue are located within metres of each other in the very centre of the city.