Bulgaria's Macedonians - Problems and Progress

April 24, 2001

MILS NEWS

"DNEVNIK" - MACEDONIANS IN BULGARIA UNDISTURBED WHILE PAYING RESPECT TO GREAT MAN JANE SANDANSKI, UNLIKE DURING CENSUS

Last weekend Macedonians in Bulgaria gathered to pay their respect to the grand Macedonian national hero Jane Sandanski before his tomb near the Rozen Monastery in Pirinska Macedonia. Several hundred members and sympathizers of the two Macedonian organizations OMO "Ilinden Pirin" and OMO "Ilinden" laid flowers on separate ceremonies. Macedonian ambassador to Bulgaria, Ljubisa Georgievski also paid his respect to the great Macedonian hero. As "Dnevnik" reports, the ceremony at the Rozen Monastery went undisturbed and Bulgarian authorities unlike before allowed the ceremony to proceed.

Despite this improvement in the behavior of Bulgarian authorities, said Ivan Singartiski - President of OMO "Ilinden Pirin" at the ceremony, Macedonians in Bulgaria are still subjected to pressure, threats and blackmailing and are not recognized as minority. Bulgarian authorities especially manipulated the last census in order to conceal the actual number of Macedonians in Bulgaria.

The census takers often wrote information on Macedonian families on plain sheet of white paper with a pencil writing "Bulgarian" instead of "Macedonian" in the language column.

OMO "Ilinden Pirin", before the European Court in Strasbourg disputes the decision of Bulgarian Constitutional Court banning the activities of OMO "Ilinden Pirin". According to Singartiski, Bulgarian authorities intend to reduce the number of Macedonians in the official census results to 2.000 people. That is absolute fraud considering the results of the previous census (7.800 Macedonians) whereas OMO "Ilinden Pirin" alone has over 5.000 members.

Bulgarian media described these assertions as vicious and anti-Bulgarian stating there are 2.000 Macedonians in Bulgaria as opposed to the hundreds of thousands imagined in the era of Comintern. As Skopje daily "Dnevnik" writes citing "Trud" and "24 Casa" newsmagazines from Sofia, members of the illegitimate OMO Ilinden Pirin chanted "Death to Bulgarians" during the ceremony.


       
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