An unidentified man levels a gun at Ahmed Dogan, leader of
Bulgaria's Movement for Rights and Freedom party, as he
delivers his speech during his party's annual conference at
the National Palace of Culture in Sofia in this still image
taken from video footage. REUTERS/Nikola Stoyanov/Bnews
A man leapt on stage and put a gun to the head of the
leader of Bulgaria's ethnic Turkish party before security
guards wrestled him to the ground during a televised conference
Ahmed Dogan, the leader of the Movement for Rights and
Freedoms (MRF) escaped unscathed, and it was not immediately
clear why the attacker targeted him at the party congress in
Television footage showed the man jumping out of the audience
brandishing the gun which he pointed at Dogan's head.
Security guards pulled him to the ground and he was
repeatedly beaten and kicked by conference delegates.
Police said they arrested the attacker, a 25-year-old from
the Black Sea town of Burgas, who was also carrying two
Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said the attacker tried
to fire two shots but "most likely the gun misfired".
The liberal MRF party represents ethnic Turks and other
Muslims who make up about 12 percent of Bulgaria's population
of around seven million. Most Muslims in Bulgaria are not
recent immigrants but are a centuries-old community, mostly
ethnic Turkish descendants of Ottoman rule.
"Bulgarian society is traditionally known for its tolerance,
mutual acceptance and respect between different ethnic groups
and religions," President Rosen Plevneliev said in a
statement. "Such an act is unacceptable in a democratic
Dogan, 58, who has lead the party for almost a quarter of a
century, returned to the party conference a few hours after
the attack and was greeted with standing ovation from
In 1996, former Prime Minister Andrei Lukanov was found shot
dead near his home in Sofia, but attacks on politicians are
rare in Bulgaria.