An event entitled “Plovdiv Against Hatred” was held in the central part of Bulgaria’s city of Plovdiv on October 10, as a response to a homophobic attack on a group of young people in the city in late September.
Participants held banners including “Plovdiv city of tolerance” and, in English: “Red card for homophobia”.
Police and municipal security intervened to prevent a group of “football fans”, identified by local media as from the Botev and Lokomotiv Plovdiv clubs, close-cropped and dark-clad young men who tried to get near the participants in the event.
Police asked this latter group to disperse, as they did not have a permit for a protest. The group unfurled a banner reading “No to Pride in Bulgaria” and remained standing where they were.
Organisers of “Plovdiv Against Hatred” intended their event as a statement against all forms of hatred and intolerance toward the Other.
The organisers said that their messages were, to the victims of the homophobic attack, “You are not unwanted, and we love you”, while the message to the institutions of state was that violence was not “something normal” and should be prosecuted.
To everyone else, the message was: “Now is the time to voice your position against violence and hate”.
At the gathering, which began outside the Plovdiv municipal building, one of the organsers, Dimitar Dimitrov, said: “We will not be expelled – this city is for everyone”.
The incident that led to the October 10 event took place in Plovdiv’s Tsar Simeon Garden on September 27, when a group of young people attacked another group – as local media reported at the time “saying that they were clearing the park of gays and lesbians and people who looked like them”.
(Photos via podtepeto.com)
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