Four people were arrested after a late-night clash at the Soviet Army Monument in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia, in which the monument was defaced and the assailants allegedly attacked a small tent camp of pro-Kremlin activists set up to “defend” the monument.
The incident, allegedly involving fans of a football club carrying out the attack, saw part of the lettering of a plaque on the monument broken, and the word “dismantle” held up on a banner and daubed on the monument.
Bulgaria’s pro-Western government, the Sofia city district administration and Sofia city council have been taking steps to get the controversial monument moved away from the centre of the capital city, while district mayor Traicho Traikov has called for fencing to be placed around the monument for safety reasons, pending its removal.
In response, members of a fringe extra-parliamentary party, subsequently backed by pro-Kremlin Vuzrazhdane and the Bulgarian Socialist Party, pledged to “defend” the monument, which commemorates the Soviet invasion of Bulgaria towards the close of the Second World War.
Sofia district governor Vyara Todeva said on August 17 that a safety plan had been prepared for the monument, and the relocation of the sculptural figures and bas-reliefs on the monument would be done in the fastest possible legal way.
The monument has been the target of daubings frequently in recent years, including in solidarity with Ukraine.
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