First ‘Run for Tolerance’ held in Plovdiv
Athletes, school pupils and other young people took part in the first “Run for Tolerance” held in Plovdiv on June 8 2014.
The route passed the main houses of worship in Bulgaria’s second city in protest against the recent increase in displays of religious hatred and intolerance in the country, the organisers of the event, the Israeli-Bulgarian Institute, said.
Israeli ambassador Shaul Khamis-Raz said that Bulgaria was chosen for the initiative because of the heroism of its people in the prevention of deportation of Bulgarian Jews to Holocaust death camps during World War 2 and because Plovdiv is a symbol of understanding among the various ethnic groups living there.
“Bulgaria is a country of tolerance. Unfortunately, from time to time there are things which are intolerant and that is why we are here, to put things back on track.”
Organisers intend that the event be held annually.
The event took place just a few days after a fence outside the Sofia Central Synagogue was defaced with a swastika and the words “Death to Jews”, and a few months after the historic mosque in the centre of Plovdiv was damaged by an anti-Islamic mob during a protest over property claims in court by the Chief Mufti, spiritual leader of Bulgaria’s Muslims.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)