Bulgarian Socialist Party condemns march honouring wartime fascist leader

The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) adopted on February 5 a declaration condemning the Lukov March, a torchlight procession held annually in Sofia since 2003 in honour of the leader of the fascist Union of Bulgarian Legions at the time of the Second World War.

In spite of years of campaigning, court battles and mayoral bans, the event will be held for the 20th time, on February 25 2023. This date is later than customary in past years, when the march was held on the Saturday closest to the anniversary of Lukov’s assassination on February 13 1943.

Over the years, the event, claimed by its organisers to honour General Hristo Lukov as a “patriotic hero” has regularly been attended by neo-Nazis from elsewhere in Europe and other parts of the world.

The BSP said in its declaration: “The neo-Nazi procession, which every year in one form or another is tolerated by the metropolitan municipality, is not just an outburst of fascism and antisemitism. It is the product of decades of rewriting history and distorting the truth”.

The final result was torchlight processions that were in deep contradiction to the time-honoured humane values of the Bulgarian people: “The people who can rightly be proud of having saved their Jews,” the BSP said.

It was “not normal” in the 21st century for fascists to march on the streets of Bulgaria, the declaration said.

“It is not normal that, year after year, people of varying political beliefs and views together protest against the holding of this event, but their voices are never heard. It is not normal for a country to tolerate this parade of extremism, xenophobia and neo-Nazism.”

The BSP said that it would never accept silence in the face of such a threat “and therefore we demand that all political parties who profess democratic values oppose, denounce and clearly state that they do not accept either the procession or the ideas of General Lukov”

“This is the great dividing line between those who want a truly different Bulgaria and those who flirt with the dark past in the name of unclear goals,” the declaration said.

In Parliament in 2022, the Lukov March was the subject of condemnation by the We Continue the Change party, the BSP, the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, and GERB. It was also, as it had been for several years, slammed by Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry, which said that the Lukov March tarnished the image of Bulgaria.

For years, the Lukov March has been sharply condemned by various foreign embassies, including those of the United States and of the State of Israel, and has been campaigned against by the Organisation of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom”. In recent years, on the same day as the march, it has been preceded by a protest against it organised by Antifa Sofia.

(Archive photo: Circlephoto/Shutterstock.com)

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