Roumen Petkov, Bulgarian Minister of the Interior sent off a blistering comment to members of the press for their failure to respect his efforts at reducing crime. He noted that murders and rapes were down as well as most categories of serious crime. The editors of the Sofia Echo had a somewhat different version of crime in Bulgaria. They noted that members of the Roma community and other ethnic minorities were still being abused including excessive use of force by the police. They pointed out there were 55 law suits against policemen for brutality and that the police had used rough measures in handling striking coal miners. As for the drop in crime, say the editors, “Rather it would seem that those involved in organized crime are growing increasingly sophisticated and subtle, infesting their activities within the formal economy.”
Abuse of members of the Roma community is common, not merely within Bulgaria, but throughout most of eastern Europe. There are simply too many reports of failure on the part of Bulgarian police to take decisive action against discrimination and hatred toward ethnic minorities.