Many thousands turned out on April 7 at a peaceful procession in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia in solidarity with Ukraine, under assault from Putin’s Russia.
Themed “We are not neutral”, the procession was a sequel to the March 24 event in Sofia, in which more than 10 000 people took part in solidarity with Ukraine.
Earlier on April 7, the organisers of the procession, which began outside the Alexander Nevsky cathedral in Sofia, submitted to Bulgaria’s Parliament a petition calling for Bulgaria to supply military equipment to Ukraine.
Bulgaria’s Parliament has yet to make a decision on supplying arms to Ukraine, a move which at the level of the ruling majority is being opposed by a governing coalition partner, the pro-Kremlin Bulgarian Socialist Party, which also has opposed sanctions against Putin’s regime.
Reports on April 6 had said that the government was discussing expelling Russia’s ambassador in Sofia, Eleonora Mitrofanova, over her succession of offensive comments insulting Bulgarians and Bulgaria’s government.
However, those reports were denied by BSP leader and deputy prime minister Kornelia Ninova, who said that the issue had not been discussed by the coalition government coalition council nor the Cabinet.
At the April 7 demonstration, participants carried posters lampooning Mitrofanova, in images of the fascism which the Putin regime falsely claims to oppose in its assault on Ukraine, in connection to which it stands accused by most of the democratic world of perpetuating war crimes – including mass murder and rape – against the civilian population of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom” has expressed deep concern about antisemitic posters displayed on April 6 at a demonstration in Sofia by the pro-Kremlin Vuzrazhdane party, the smallest group in Bulgaria’s Parliament.
At the Vuzrazhdane event, vastly smaller in turnout compared with the pro-Ukraine demonstrations in Sofia, there were posters likening Zionism to Nazism, along with antisemitic slurs against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is Jewish.
Shalom cited the working definition of antisemitism, as adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance – of which Bulgaria has been a member since 2017 – regarding such comparisons as being tantamount to antisemitism.
“We see that the type of people who raise such slogans are part of the group of people who deny the existence of the Holocaust, allow themselves to ridicule Jews as ‘lampshades’, mock the memory of the six million Jews (murdered in the Holocaust) and call their fellow Bulgarian citizens of Jewish origin ‘guests’,” Shalom said.
“We call on the Bulgarian authorities to take urgent measures and take appropriate decisions to stop this hatred from spreading among Bulgarian society.
“For its part, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria ‘Shalom’ will refer to all institutions in Bulgaria, as well as the ambassadors of the EU, the United States and Israel,” the organisation said.
(Main photo: The Sofia Globe)
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