An online petition, which already has more than half of the signatures that it has set as its goal, is appealing to Bulgaria’s caretaker Interior Minister Boiko Rashkov to ensure that the 2021 Sofia Pride passes off without attacks from ultra-nationalist groups.
The petition points out that ultra-nationalist groups have announced that they will target and attack all Pride events in Bulgaria.
“These are not just words – the attacks have already started, the petition points out:
- On May 15, a mob of 300 neo-Nazis attacked the 40 participants at the first-ever Pride event in the city of Bourgas by throwing eggs, rocks, and smoke bombs at the Pride participants and burning a rainbow flag.
- On May 20, a nationalist politician called Sofia Pride “a manifestation of group mental disorders” during a meeting of the Sofia City Council.
- On May 25, a reading of an LGBT+ friendly children’s book was interrupted by members of the Bulgarian National Union who shouted slurs and vandalised the windows of the venue with stickers reading “Stop LGBT virus”.
- And between May 31 and June 3, several community centres, venues and Pride billboards were vandalised with stickers, eggs and foam. Homophobic and transphobic leaflets were distributed all around the city.”
Sofia Pride is scheduled for June 12, and is supposed to be the highlight after a week of Pride events, the organisers said.
“But with more attacks being announced, the LGBT+ community is getting increasingly scared of participating in any public gathering.”
The text addressed to Rashkov says that the LGBT+ community has the right to safe and peaceful assembly.
“Ultra-Nationalist groups and local politicians cannot be allowed to disturb and attack peaceful gatherings.
“We demand that you guarantee safety and support to Pride events and demonstrations in all Bulgarian cities.
“We demand that adequate police forces are allocated to protect the LGBT+ community during Pride events.
“And we demand that the Ministry of Interior publicly condemns any acts of violence, especially by members of the government and other authorities, and that these acts will be prosecuted properly and in a timely manner.”
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