Indirect threats: Bulgarian neo-Nazis determined to save ‘Lukov March’

Written by on February 3, 2018 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Indirect threats: Bulgarian neo-Nazis determined to save ‘Lukov March’

Bulgarian neo- Nazis, skinheads, so-called patriots and other haters are gearing up for their big event which they think will take place on February 17 in Sofia. They have been staging their torchlight procession since 2003, to honour Hristo Lukov, and they seem determined to do so again this month.

In the past two years, that gathering of hate, which usually includes Nazis from other European countries too, was actually banned, but it went ahead anyway. Police even escorted the participants.

Lieutenant-General Lukov was a founder of the Union of Bulgarian National Legions, a pro-Nazi group which had considerable influence during the war, and a promoter of anti-Semitic ideas. Bulgaria was allied to Nazi Germany then.

This time however, the Nazi march might not take place. In the past weeks, the pressure on Bulgaria has been increasing. More and more people and organisations are demanding an effective ban on the procession scheduled for Febuary 17 2018.

> Bulgarian NGOs have been demanding an enforced “Lukov March” ban for years.

> Because of Bulgaria’s EU Council Presidency, the moderate part of the Sofia government does not like the idea of that march either. The usual indifference dissolved.

> Shalom, the organisation of the Bulgarian Jews, published a declaration against the march months ago. Foreign embassies are supporting the organisation.

> The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is running an online petition against the Nazi event, which more than 175 000 people have signed so far.

> This week, the WJC’s Chief Executive Officer, Robert Singer, was in Sofia. He asked Prime Minister Boiko Borissov to enforce the ban on that Nazi event, saying the march was not directed against the Jews, but against democracy and freedom.

With all of this pressure, the likelihood for the anti-democratic and anti-Semitic march of hate taking place is decreasing.

In the meantime, the neo-Nazis in Sofia are trying to save their procession. On Facebook pages, which were just reported to the social media site for containing hate speech, they say Lukov had been a “valiant warrior”.

“Our enemies will have to hear and see that Bulgaria’s national youth is ready to fight for its future,” obviously by trying to revive the worst hatred in the history of mankind. The latter, of course, is not coming from the future, but the past.

The neo-Nazis posted two events on Facebook, both of which were reported to the social media site as well:

> The banned march itself.

> A discussion, organised by opponets of Nazi rhetoric and hate, which the Nazis seem to want to disrupt.

They added crossed out photos of participants, including Shalom’s President Alexander Oscar. A picture of Sofia’s Mayor Yordanka Fandukova, who will open the discussion at Sofia University, was included as well. In addition, names of co-organisers were listed.

These aspects can only be interpreted as threats against everyone involved in the discussion, which is being organised by the NGO Marginalia.

The organisers of the march have a website called lukovmarsh (instead of lukovmarch), with the .info domain ending, on which they are also trying to attract Nazis from other European countries in Croatian, French, English and terrible German.

According to one of the commentators on the “lukovmarsh” Facebook page, a directive from the radical right-wing party VRMO was sent to its members, saying they should not participate in the march this time.

This is interesting, since they usually do. VRMO is the party of Bulgaria’s Minister of Defence Krassimir Karakachanov. It is part of the ultra-nationalist “United Patriots”, and Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government coalition.

Anti-Semitism in Sofia has been visible and audible due to the annual march. Swastikas and other Nazi symbols are sprayed all over buildings in part of the city centre. Anti-Semitic literature, including “Mein Kampf” is being sold at the book market at Slaveikov Square.

Also, NGOs and media, including this publication, have received direct and indirect threats, with xenophobic, homphobic and anti-Semitic content.

At the same time, Sofia is known for its “triangle of tolerance”, in which a mosque, a Christian Orthodox church and a synagogue are located, a few hundred metres apart.

Observers believe that an enforced “Lukov March” ban would make Bulgaria look better, in this regard, both from within and from abroad.




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