Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry has expressed full support for the efforts of various institutions to prevent the Lukov March, being held on February 12 2022.
The Lukov March is 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.
However, efforts by Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova to ban or limit the 2022 Lukov March were overturned by Sofia Administrative Court rulings in August and October 2021.
“The streets of the Bulgarian capital must remain free of manifestations, which are incompatible with the values, traditions and interests of the Bulgarian people,” the Foreign Ministry said.
“Antisemitism, racism, intolerance, discrimination and hatred have no place in Bulgaria. Events like the so-called ‘Lukov March’ tarnish the image of the Republic of Bulgaria, presenting undeservingly our country in a negative light and diverting the attention from our achievements and the traditional tolerance of our society.”
In a statement on February 12, the United States embassy in Sofia said that it fully supported the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ stand in opposing the Lukov march.
“We also stand with our allies and partners from the diplomatic community, civil society, and political parties in Bulgaria in condemning the ideology of hatred and intolerance, which the march represents. We must all unite to oppose hate, antisemitism, and calls to violence, the US embassy said.
In a message on Twitter on February 12, the UK embassy said: “The British Embassy in Sofia joins Bulgarian friends in reaffirming that the glorification of violence and promotion of hatred have no place in our societies. The Sofia we know and love is reflected in its Square of Tolerance. Long may that continue”.
On the eve of the march, it was condemned in declarations by four political parties represented in Bulgaria’s Parliament – We Continue the Change, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and GERB.
On February 12, the Supreme Administrative Prosecutor’s Office said that it had approached Sofia municipality and the Sofia directorate of the Interior Ministry “to take appropriate measures related to the protection of public order and protection of the rights and health of citizens during the eventual holding of the so-called Lukov March”.
Several hours before the scheduled start of the Lukov March, it was the subject of a protest in central Sofia against it, entitled “No to Nazis on our Streets”.
Also hours before the march, the police presence in central Sofia was seriously stepped up.
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