Bulgaria: U.S. Embassy pledges support for Sofia Pride Parade

Written by on June 7, 2017 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Bulgaria: U.S. Embassy pledges support for Sofia Pride Parade

The Embassy of the United States of America in Bulgaria has pledged support to the Sofia Pride Parade, which is scheduled to take place this coming Saturday, June 10, 2017.

In a statement, the embassy said democracy was “most secure when all persons live freely without fear of violence and discrimination, yet LGBTI persons continue to be regularly targeted and harassed.” LGBTI refers to lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals, trans-sexuals and intersex people. In all of South-Eastern Europe, the LGBTI community is confronted with discrimination and hate, while in Bulgaria this kind of hatred is even being expressed by members of parliament and political parties, which are part of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government coalition.

“The U.S. Embassy therefore is proud to support the annual Sofia Pride”, the statement continues saying, “which is the biggest annual event dedicated to the equality and human rights of all citizens and the biggest event increasing the visibility of LGBTI people in the country.”

In the meantime, the global nonprofit organisation All Out Action Fund has called for protection for the Sofia Pride Parade on June 10, 2017. The demand was voiced after a Bulgarian Nazi organisation called “National Resistance” announced it would disrupt the event.

In cooperation with the European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA), All Out urged Sofia’s Mayor Yordanka Fandakova to condemn any targeted attacks against the LGBT community and to join the Pride march. Also, the NGO demanded measures which will keep the Pride marchers safe. An official petition connected to those demands can be signed by supporters.

“The National Resistance, a neo-Nazi group known for committing hate crimes, successfully registered an official event at the same time and location as Sofia Pride”, All Out said, “calling on participants to ‘cleanse Sofia and Bulgaria from the garbage'”. The wording the Nazi organisation used in this context is similar to the content of statements released by the Bulgarian parties Ataka and VMRO, which are part of the government in Sofia.

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE) in the European Parliament also called for protection of the Sofia Pride Parade marchers. “I call on the Bulgarian authorities and the Mayor of Sofia to act to safeguard all those planning to participate in the Sofia Pride March scheduled for this weekend”, ALDE chairman Guy Verhofstadt said. “Far-right violence against the LGBTI community has no place in the European Union of 2017.”

Photo: New York City Pride Parade 2016

 

 

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About the Author

Imanuel Marcus is Associate Editor of The Sofia Globe. He is German and lives in Sofia. Contact: imanuelmarcus (at) gmail.com