Eleven foreign embassies condemn attack on Bulgaria’s LGBTQI+ Rainbow Hub

Eleven foreign embassies in Bulgaria have issued a statement strongly condemning the October 30 attack on Sofia’s Rainbow Hub in Sofia, a centre for Bulgarian organisations that promote equality and the protection of the rights of LGBTQI+ people.

As The Sofia Globe reported earlier, the attack was carried out by a group from the neo-fascist Bulgarian National Union (BNU). Activists at the Rainbow Hub have said that BNU founder Boyan Rasate led the group, and said that in the course of the attack, during which there was extensive damage to property, Rasate struck a woman in the face.

The embassies of the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom joined in condemning the attack.

On November 1, the ambassadors of the US, UK, Ireland, Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Belgium visited the Rainbow Hub “to express solidarity with our friends and partners in the face of this senseless attack,” a statement said.

“LGBTQI+ rights are basic human rights, and like many Bulgarians we reject violence and intolerance, which have no place in any democratic society.”

Seven organisations have jointly organised a public protest themed “No to Hate”, being held on November 1 at 6pm outside the Palace of Justice in Sofia.

“The attack on the LGBTI community centre Rainbow Hub is not just an act of vandalism, it is a fascist attack on our right to exist,” the organisers said.

The demands of the protesters include amendments to Bulgaria’s Penal Code to include crimes with homophobic and transphobic motives, and that Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev immediately request the Central Election Commission to lift the immunity from prosecution that Rasate has as a candidate in Bulgaria’s presidential elections.

On November 1, the Prosecutor’s Office said that such a request had been made to the CEC, and that pre-trial proceedings had been initiated under the Penal Code.

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