German federal police in North-Rhine Westphalia have barred nine people, eight men and a woman, from boarding a flight to Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia where they had intended to take part in the Lukov March on February 22.
The police said in a media statement that they were checking German citizens at Dortmund Airport who wanted to leave for Sofia, to establish whether they intended taking part in the Lukov March and whether they could be permitted to travel.
The passports of the people barred from travelling to Sofia had been temporarily confiscated, police said. This was to prevent them from attempting to travel from other airports or land borders.
Far-right extremists from Germany and elsewhere in Europe regularly take part in the march, which honours a pro-Nazi general who headed the fascist and antisemitic Union of Bulgarian National Legions in the early 1940s. The torchlight evening march has been held annually in Sofia since 2003.
The 2020 Lukov March has, as in recent years, been banned by Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova, but the ban has been overturned in court. The court said that the mayor could recommend changes to the place and time of the event, but not ban it.
Fandukova told a Sofia city council meeting this week that she would allow only the laying of floral tributes at Lukov’s house, and relied on the Interior Ministry to keep order during the event.
The Bulgarian National Union Edelweiss, organiser of the march, is currently the subject of an application by prosecutors in the Sofia City Court to cancel its registration under the law on non-government organisations. Prosecutors say that the BNU Edelweiss is anti-constitutional and has a paramilitary element.
Recently, a member of the BNU Edelweiss committed suicide on arrival for questioning by the State Agency for National Security. After his death, prosecutors found a weapons cache, decorated with a photograph of Hitler, at his home.
Bulgarian media reported that this week, Lukov March supporters disrupted a student event at Sofia University held to discuss the revival of fascism in Europe and Bulgaria. The supporters allegedly threatened participants and one reportedly claimed to have a firearm with him. The reports said that after two hours, the intruders were escorted out of the hall by police.
(Photo: German Federal Police North-Rhine Westphalia)