Condemnation for planned holding of Lukov March in honour of pro-Nazi leader

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria is categorically against the planned holding of the so-called Lukov March, the ministry said on February 16.

First held in 2003, the Lukov March is a torchlight procession through central Sofia in honour of Hristo Lukov, a pro-Nazi general who was the leader of the fascist Union of Bulgarian National Legions up to the time of his assassination on February 13 1943.

The organisers of the march, a fringe far-right organisation, have sought for years to portray Lukov as a patriotic hero. In the years it has gone ahead, barring those occasions a mayoral ban has been enforced, it has attracted neo-Nazis from elsewhere in Europe.

The Foreign Ministry said: “Hatred, discrimination and antisemitism have no place in our country. They are incompatible with the values, identity, traditions and interests of the Bulgarian people”.

Events such as the so-called Lukov March undeservedly present Bulgaria in a negative light, the ministry said.

“Welcoming the efforts of the Bulgarian institutions to counter hatred, discrimination and antisemitism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls for taking all the necessary actions, within the framework of the law, to prevent the so-called Lukov March from taking place in 2024 as well.”

The ministry said that it would continue to oppose any attempt to instill hatred and division in Bulgarian society, and to damage the international image of Bulgaria.

Separately, the US embassy issued a warning to US citizens about the march, due to begin on February 17 at 2pm.

The march is traditionally held by ultra-nationalistic affiliates and considered to be commemorative of Nazi ideology and tradition, the US embassy.

The embassy said that Bulgarian officials expect that there will be about 1000 participants in the march, which is planned to begin at the National Palace of Culture, NDK, and proceed to Lukov’s house at 1 Trakia Street. Routes may vary, the statement said.

Ahead of the Lukov March, there will be a counter-protest, entitled No Nazis in the Streets, starting at 1pm on February 17 and proceeding from Ariana Lake through central Sofia to the square next to Banya Bashin mosque. The demonstration may last until 6pm.

A rehearsal for the Lukov March was planned for February 10, but the unauthorised event was banned by Sofia mayor Vassil Terziev. A large contingent of police enforced the ban.

In a message on X ( the embassy of Israel in Bulgaria urged the Bulgarian authorities to take immediate and effective actions to prevent the Lukov March from taking place and to ensure the safety of all citizens.

Lukov expressed fascist, pro-Nazi, racist and antisemitic views that should be banned in public, the embassy said.

It said that unfortunately, just like in the dark days of the Second World War, there are people today who raise antisemitic voices, supporting a march in honor of a person who propagated antisemitism, xenophobia and ideologically stood behind the deportation of Jews from the territories administered by Bulgaria to the death camps.

“Expressing respect for freedom of speech as a pillar of any open society, we cannot help but see in these manifestations an incitement to violence and hate speech, a risk to the existence of any free democratic society,” the Israeli embassy said.

“We are convinced that the Bulgarian state and municipal institutions will take all necessary measures to prohibit the holding of this shameful demonstration,” it said.

Sofia municipality, in a statement on its website on February 16, said that in connection with stated intentions to organize a ceremony in memory of Lukov in front of NDK on February 17 at 5pm, it had not approved the holding of a procession in the central part of Sofia.

In the event that a procession is held, the municipality would issue a termination order, it said.

(Archive photo, from 2021: Belish/

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