The Guardian: Bulgarian Foreign Ministry Condemns Far-Right March in Sofia
Bulgaria’s foreign ministry has condemned a march by hundreds of far-right supporters in honour of a Bulgarian general who led a pro-Nazi organisation in the 1930s and 40s.
The two-hour torchlit procession went ahead in the capital, Sofia, on Saturday night despite calls from Bulgaria’s largest parties, the US embassy and several Jewish organisations for it to be scrapped.
“This manifestation of genuine intolerance to others took place less than a month after the whole world paid tribute to the victims of the Holocaust,” the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
The foreign ministry said any act glorifying the Nazi ideology was “absolutely unacceptable”.
“This must be a clear signal to us as a society and as Europeans who have not forgotten the suffering caused by world war two that it is not enough just to recall the tragic events,” the ministry said.
Far-right supporters calling themselves Bulgarian nationalists were joined by neo-Nazi and antisemitic groups from other European countries on a march to honour Gen Hristo Lukov, a Bulgarian general known for supporting Nazi Germany during the second world war and for his antisemitic views.
Local authorities tried to ban the rally, which has been held every year for more than a decade, and which the government has condemned as “shameful”. However, organisers obtained a court order allowing them to proceed.
“We object to being called antisemites, neo-Nazis, or fascists. We are simply nationalists,” the rally’s leader, Zvezdomir Andronov, told Agence France-Presse.
Robert Eklund from the Nordic Resistance Movement said he was in Bulgaria “to fight a common enemy – multiculturalism, globalisation and the EU”, adding that he wanted to stop “non-European immigration”.
The protesters marched through central Sofia for more than two hours, lighting torches and chanting Lukov’s name.
Critics said the procession would overshadow government efforts to present the former communist Balkan state, which joined the EU in 2007, as a progressive and open-minded country at a time when Bulgaria holds the bloc’s rotating presidency./ The Guardian
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