Sofia Mayor Suspends Lukov March

Sofia, February 12 (BTA) - Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova has suspended Lukov March on Saturday evening, City Hall said. She acted on information from the Sofia Directorate of the Interior that representatives of the organizers and their supporters were gathering in the afternoon, although the event had not been cleared by City Hall.

Police divided those gathered into groups and accompanied them to General Hristo Lukov's home where they traditionally lay flowers at the end of the procession.

The event - a torchlit procession which has been taking place annually in February since 2003, is organized by the Bulgarian National Union. This year the organizers said torches would be lit only in front of Lukov's home.

Hristo Lukov (1888-1943) was a popular military commander, also known for his close links to the Third Reich and his activity as leader of the far-right Union of Bulgarian National Legions. Lukov March commemorates the anniversary of the general's execution-style murder by two Communist militants.

Earlier in the day, a counter-procession mottoed "No Nazis in the Streets" took place in Sofia. The participants staged it in solidarity with all minority groups victimized by hate crimes, homophobia, sexism and antisemitism. They slammed the casting of Lukov March as a patriotic event held by people with traditional values.

The U.S. Embassy issued a position on Facebook, saying that it "fully supports the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' stand in opposing the Lukov march". The Embassy said: "We also stand with our allies and partners from the diplomatic community, civil society, and political parties in Bulgaria in condemning the ideology of hatred and intolerance, which the march represents. We must all unite to oppose hate, anti-Semitism, and calls to violence. #NoHate."

On Friday, Bulgaria's Foreign Ministry expressed full sympathy with the efforts of various institutions to prevent the so-called Lukov March in 2022. "The streets of the Bulgarian capital must remain free of manifestations that are incompatible with the values, traditions and interests of the Bulgarian people. Anti-Semitism, racism, intolerance, discrimination and hatred have no place in our country," the Foreign Ministry said. Events such as the Lukov March "harm the image of Bulgaria, presenting it undeservedly in a negative light and distracting attention from the achievements of our country and the traditionally tolerant nature of our society," the statement said.

Also on Friday, Parliament heard declarations from the parliamentary groups of Continue the Change, BSP for Bulgaria, GERB and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms against the planned event. BR,DT,DD

Source: Sofia