Four parties in Bulgaria’s National Assembly have made declarations strongly condemning the Lukov March, planned for February 12, a torchlight procession honouring a pro-Nazi Bulgarian general of the 1930s and 1940s, who led the fascist Union of Bulgarian National Legions.
First held in 2003, the Lukov March – which draws neo-Nazis from elsewhere in Europe – has been repeatedly banned by Sofia municipality, with the ban being upheld in court in 2020.
In Parliament on February 11, We Continue the Change (WCC) party, which is led by Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and Finance Minister Assen Vassilev, slammed the planned march, as well as any neo-Nazi or pro-fascist events in Bulgaria.
The democratic present and future of Bulgaria ruled out such manifestations of xenophobia and hate speech, WCC MP Tatiana Sultanova said on behalf of the group.
“Provocations to violence, propaganda of racism, antisemitism, homophobia, sexism, have no place in Bulgarian society,” Sultanova said.
“We condemn any attempt to hold events that threaten public peace and the dignity of Bulgarian citizens,” she said.
Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) MP Alexander Simov told the National Assembly: “We have long been tired of raising this issue again and again every year, every year again and again to ask the big questions of Bulgarian democracy and every year in some strange way this procession turns out to be allowed and every year on the streets of Sofia these dark forces, which we must categorically oppose”.
At a Sofia City Council meeting on February 10, the BSP tabled a resolution condemning the Lukov March which, however, failed to win approval.
Movement for Rights and Freedoms MP Stanislav Anastasov told the National Assembly said that the Interior Ministry had all the resources to stop the Lukov March.
Addressing the ruling majority benches, he said: “Currently, your minister has all the resources not to allow it to take place, let’s see if he will do so”.
Separately, in a declaration posted on Facebook on the afternoon of February 11, former prime minister Boiko Borissov’s opposition GERB party called for the Lukov March to be stopped.
GERB said that the Holocaust was one of the most painful pages in human history.
“The tragedy of the millions of innocent victims of the Nazi regime is an indelible mark on the memory of Europe and the world,” the party said.
“There is no greater insult to the memory of victims and their heirs than revisionism and attempts to revive and honour individuals and practices associated with dark times in which antisemitism and hatred changed destinies and destroyed lives,” GERB said, saying that the Lukov March was such an event.
The Bulgarians who saved their fellow Jews from the death camps could not be personified by people whose ideas were related to division, discrimination, humiliation and disregard for the right of every human being to live freely in his own country, GERB said.
The party said that when it was in government, it had worked in partnership with all Bulgarian institutions and for two consecutive years, had managed to prevent the infamous Lukov March.
In a sideswipe at the ruling coalition, GERB said that “the apparent lack of sensitivity in the ruling coalition on the fight against hate speech poses a risk of rehabilitating Lukovm March, whose torchlight procession threatens Bulgaria’s international image and reputation as a country that until recently effectively implemented measures to combat antisemitism, xenophobia, racism and intolerance”.
A protest against the Lukov March, themed “No to Nazis on our Streets”, is to be held on February 12 at 12.30pm outside the Central Mineral Baths building in central Sofia.
“With solidarity we will again walk the streets of Sofia united against fascism, Nazism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia and all kinds of discrimination,” said a media statement issued in the name of Antifa Sofia, which called for a complete ban on the Lukov March and the organisations behind it.
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