Bulgaria’s influential Christian Orthodox Church is urging people to avoid further ethnic flare-ups in the Balkan country.
Riots erupted last weekend after a 19-year-old man was run over and killed by a minibus driven by a man linked to a local Roma leader. Angry villagers hurled stones and firebombs at the house of the Roma leader and tensions escalated when several hundred nationalist soccer fans joined the riots.
In a special address on Friday, the Holy Synod of the church said “there should not be ethnic tension in Bulgaria.”
The church says the “scale of the events is proof of the huge accumulation of anger and hate in the nation.”