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Nation and World briefs | Jan. 20, 2013

Bulgarian opposition leader escapes assault attempt

SOFIA, Bulgaria — The leader of Bulgaria’s opposition Movement for Rights and Freedoms, Ahmed Dogan, gave up the chairmanship of his party after being threatened on stage with a gun earlier Saturday.

Dogan’s deputy, Lyutvi Mestan, was elected by the MRF convention as the new party leader. Dogan was proclaimed honorary chairman for life, which gives him leadership powers.

Dogan had already been expected to resign his post and lend his support to his deputy prior to being attacked during his speech at his party’s convention in Sofia by a man carrying a gas pistol.

Dogan was not injured. The attacker, a 25-year-old ethnic Turk whose motive was unclear, was detained by police.

Thousands rally against stricter gun laws

AUSTIN, Texas — Thousands of gun advocates gathered peacefully Saturday at state capitals around the U.S. to rally against stricter limits on firearms, with demonstrators carrying rifles and pistols in some places while those elsewhere settled for waving hand-scrawled signs or screaming themselves hoarse.

The size of crowds at each location varied — from dozens of people in South Dakota to 2,000 in New York. Large crowds also turned out in Connecticut, Tennessee and Texas. Some demonstrators in Phoenix and Salem, Ore., came with holstered handguns or rifles on their backs. At the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort, attendees gave a special round of applause for “the ladies that are packin’.”

Activists promoted the “Guns Across America” rallies primarily through social media. They were being held just after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping package of federal gun-control proposals.

The crowd swelled to more than 800 amid balmy temperatures on the steps of the pink-hued Capitol in Austin, where speakers took the microphone under a giant Texas flag with “Independent” stamped across it.

By wire sources