Point blank: Man aims gun at head of Bulgarian politician during speech

A man boarded the stage and pointed a gas pistol at the head of a leading Bulgarian politician in front of a stunned party conference. Angry parliamentarians then pounced on the would-be assassin, beating him to a bloody pulp.

Ahmed Dogan, the leader of the Turkish minority MRF party, known as the kingmaker of Bulgarian politics, was delivering an emotional speech in which he was about to announce that he was stepping down as chief of the party he founded in 1990.

Local video footage then shows a tall, heavily-built man wearing a laminated badge, later named as Oktai Enimehmedov, running into view, before holding the pistol an inch away from Dogan’s face. Dogan flinches, Enimehmedov does not fire a round, and the politician rapidly regains his composure and pushes away the assailant’s hand. Security personnel then run onto the stage, and overwhelm the failed assassin. What follow are unedifying scenes of a swarm of furious politicians repeatedly kicking and punching Enimehmedov on the ground as blood streams from his head.

It is not clear if Enimehmedov planned to shoot, as he appeared to have sufficient time to pull the trigger before Dogan even noticed him, although it is also possible that his gun jammed at the key moment.

“Such an act is unacceptable in a democratic country. In the name of all Bulgarians, I want to convey the outrage caused by this act of violence,” said President Rossen Plevneliev, who urged the authorities to investigate who, if anyone, was behind the attack.

25-year-old Enimehmedov, an ethnic Turk who has previous assault and drugs convictions, was also found to have been carrying a knife. What seemed to be his conference pass was actually obtained at a previous party event.

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