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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bulgarian Politician Faces Off With a Gunman

Footage from bTV News

A man climbed onstage and attempted to fire a gas pistol Saturday at the leader of the country’s ethnic Turkish political party while he was giving a speech at his party’s annual conference in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.

The gun misfired, according to a BBC report citing Bulgarian officials, and Ahmed Dogan, the leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, was not harmed. Video of the incident shows Mr. Dogan pushing the gunman’s hand, then diving away as other people at the conference wrestle the man to the floor, then punch and kick him repeatedly. The gun, a small gas pistol, lies nearby at the feet of shocked onlookers.

“A gas pistol is a nonlethal weapon used for self-defense,” The Associated Pres reported, “but experts say when fired from close range it can cause life-threatening injuries.”

The gunman was arrested, the news agency said, identifying him as “25-year-old Oktai Enimehmedov, a Bulgarian national and ethnic Turk, from the coastal city of Burgas.” The motive for the attack was not immediately clear. The report said the assailant was also carrying two knives.

Mr. Dogan’s party represents ethnic Turks and other Muslims, according to Reuters, who make up “12 percent of Bulgaria’s 7.3 million-strong population.”