Round-up of news stories from across the EU 6.5.16

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BULGARIA: Clashes at Anti-Roma Rally in Radnevo, Bulgaria (Balkan Insight, link): "Three policemen and four protesters suffered injuries after violent clashes broke out the rally in Radnevo, the Bulgarian interior ministry said on Thursday.


Around 2,000 people joined the protest on Wednesday evening, following an incident in which four men of Roma origin assaulted three Bulgarians in a street row on Monday.

The violence erupted when the crowd, shouting “Bulgaria for the Bulgarians”, “Bulgarians – heroes”, “Bulgaria above all” and various anti-Roma slogans, reached the Roma neighbourhood of Kantona, which was cordoned off by interior ministry special forces.

Some of the protesters tried to break through the barricades and enter the Roma neighbourhood, throwing stones and fireworks at the policemen, who responded by dispersing the crowd with batons."

FRANCE: Disgraced ex-police officer’s corruption trial opens in France (France 24, link): "The trial of Michel Neyret, once one of France’s most respected law enforcement officers, opened in Paris on Monday, where he stands accused of a litany of crimes, including corruption, drug trafficking and embezzlement.

Neyret’s fall from grace has been a spectacular one. Known for his charisma, Neyret headed up an anti-gang unit in the southeastern city of Lyon for 20 years, a job that earned him France’s highest honour, the Légion d’honneur, in 2004 from then interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

He quickly rose up the ranks over the next three years and was promoted to deputy chief of police in Lyon in 2007.

Neyret’s career, however, came to a crashing halt with his arrest on September 29, 2011, after an investigation into a major drug trafficking ring led straight to his office."

FRANCE: Why does 'everyone in France hate the police'? (The Local, link): " Police unions have called on officers to take to the streets for their own march to call for an end to "anti-cop hatred" after clashes with protesters left 300 officers injured.

It feels a long time since January 11th 2015, when as millions of marched through the streets of Paris to mourn the victims of the terror attacks, the crowds clapped and cheered as vans of riot police snaked their way through the throng.

The incident made headlines, because it was so rare in France for the public to show such an appreciation, even warmth for the forces of law and order.

Things have deteriorated somewhat since then."

GERMANY: PEGIDA founder Lutz Bachmann found guilty of inciting hatred (Deutsche Welle, link): "A district court in the eastern German city of Dresden ruled on Tuesday that Lutz Bachmann must pay a penalty of 9,600 euros ($11,044), after being found guilty of inciting hatred.

Prosecutors had called for a seven-month prison sentence for Bachmann, while his defense pleaded for his acquittal.Tuesday's verdict is not yet legally binding, however.

The founder of the Islamic and xenophobic alliance, PEGIDA, was charged with inciting hatred in October 2015. According to the indictment, Bachmann insulted refugees on his Facebook page in September, 2014 when he described asylum seekers as "cattle," "scum," and "trash.""

MACEDONIA: Macedonians Mark Anniversary of Fatal Police Beating (Balkan Insight, link): "Thousands of people gathered on Thursday evening on Skopje's main Macedonia square, where 21-year-old Martin Neskovski was beaten to death on June 6, 2011, when the ruling VMRO DPMNE party was celebrating its election victory.

The protesters covered the square with giant red slogans like "You cannot hide murder, nor wash blood from your hands", "Justice for Martin, Freedom for All" and "Murderers".

They also dyed the water in the square’s fountains red and threw red paint balls at giant pictures of former prime minister and VMRO DPMNE leader Nikola Gruevski and his former interior minister Gordana Jankuloska."

Russia vows response to NATO plan in Poland and Baltics (Al Jazeera, link): "Russia will take retaliatory measures if NATO deploys more battalions in Poland and the Baltic states and will reinforce its western and southern flanks with new divisions, officials said.

Andrei Kelin, a department head at Russia's Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday that the proposed NATO deployment spoken of by various officials was a source of concern for Moscow.

Russia has scrambled jets to intercept United States reconnaissance planes in recent weeks and made simulated attack passes near a US warship in the Baltic Sea."

SWEDEN: Q&A: 'Racism is on the rise in Sweden and it is scary' (Al Jazeera, link): "Last week, activist Maria-Teresa "Tess" Asplund, 42, took part in a counter-demonstration during a Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) rally where she stood alone with her fist firmly raised confronting hundreds of neo-Nazi marchers.

The act of defiance lasted for only a couple of seconds, but was enough for photographer David Lagerlof to capture the action.

Asplund was adopted when she was 17 months old by a Swedish couple, who brought her to Sweden.

She describes herself as Afro-Swedish and is a part of the Afrophobia Focus organisation that addresses afrophobia and hostility towards people with a sub-Saharan African background in Sweden."

UK: Prisoner found dead at County Durham young offenders' institute (Chronicle Live, link): "An investigation has been launched after a teenager died in a County Durham young offenders’ institution.

Ryan Gorton, 19, was found unresponsive in his cell at HMYOI Deerbolt on Monday May 2.

Paramedics were called to the jail on the Bank Holiday Monday, however the teenager was pronounced dead."

UK: Wormwood Scrubs prison staff walk out over safety concerns (The Guardian, link): "More than 50 staff at Wormwood Scrubs prison have walked out, saying they do not feel safe there.

The 1,200 inmates of the west London jail have been locked in their cells and all visits have been cancelled as a result of the action by prison officers.

Laura Janes, the legal director of the Howard League for Penal Reform, tweeted: “Cannot get into Wormwood Scrubs to represent young person who does not feel safe as staff have walked out because staff don’t feel safe.”"

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