World Jewish Congress denounces Neo-Nazi Lukov March, urges Bulgaria to again ban event
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) condemns in the strongest possible terms the neo-Nazi Lukov March set for February 25 2023, in Sofia, Bulgaria, and calls on local and national officials to ban this event, as they did in 2021, the WJC said on February 21.
The annual gathering of neo-Nazis from across Europe, first held in 2003, features a torchlit parade honouring Hristo Lukov, who until his assassination in 1943 was the well-known leader of the fascist Union of Bulgarian National Legions. That organisation supported the deportation of 11 343 Jews from Bulgarian-occupied territory to the Treblinka death camp, the WJC said.
In 2021, Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova and Bulgaria’s then Prime Minister Boiko Borisov, together with local law enforcement, took an unequivocal stand against this virulent display of intolerance by refusing to allow the march to take place.
“Such gatherings, and all other manifestations and rhetoric that promote and venerate racism, antisemitism and xenophobia, must be condemned and prevented from spreading their virulent messages of hatred and bigotry,” WJC President Ronald S Lauder said at that time.
The statement said that the WJC joins its affiliate, the Organization of Jews in Bulgaria – Shalom, in opposing this glorification of hatred, which is inconsistent with the best of Bulgaria’s traditions and has no place in modern-day Europe.
Earlier, the Lukov March was condemned by the Bulgarian Socialist Party and in a joint statement by the We Continue the Change party and the Democratic Bulgaria coalition.
It also has been condemned in declarations by the US embassy, Bulgaria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Antifa Sofia, which is organising a “No Nazi on Our Streets” event starting on February 25 at 4.30pm outside the Palace of Justice in Sofia.
In a message on Twitter on February 16, the Embassy of Israel in Bulgaria said that it strongly urges the Bulgarian authorities to prohibit the holding of Lukov March that is planned to take place on February 25.
Representatives of 18 non-governmental organisations signed on February 16 a declaration “Against the hate that divides us” that states rejection of hate speech and calls for the banning of the Lukov March.
(Archive photo: Circlephoto/Shutterstock.com)
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