Bulgarian Gay Parade Organizers Alarmed over Homophobes Planning to Mar It

Society | June 14, 2011, Tuesday // 20:20| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: Bulgarian Gay Parade Organizers Alarmed over Homophobes Planning to Mar It Participants take part in the third annual Gay Pride parade in Sofia, Bulgaria, 26 June 2010, as anti-gay activists hold a banner reading `Healthy and Peaceful Future" in the background. Photo by EPA/BGNES

The organizers of the fourth annual "Sofia Pride" gay parade in the Bulgarian capital Sofia on June 18 have stated they are deeply concerned over the event's safety, as a nationalist rally has been announced for the same date.

The nationalists' rally will start at the Alexander Nevski cathedral and is supposed to end at 15:30 on Saturday in front of Sofia's National Palace of Culture, which is when and where the Sofia Pride parade will begin.

"What (Sofia Mayor) Yordanka Fandakova has to do is to ban the obviously dangerous nationalist rally," the gay parade's organizers have declared before the Dnevnik daily.

On Monday, eight foreign embassies in Sofia came out with statements in support of the Sofia Pride, scheduled for this Saturday.

That includes the embassies of the USA, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Germany, Slovenia, Finland and Norway, which all stressed their commitment to equal rights for all.

"Sofia Pride", Bulgaria's first ever gay parade, took place for the first time in 2008 and was marred by hooligans, with more than 60 people ending up arrested by the police for trying to attack and harass the participants, some of them throwing Molotov cocktails.

The 2009 gay parade, passing very quickly and under enhanced security measures, gathered around 300 people.

Bulgaria's 3rd annual gay parade went without violent incidents largely thanks to the decisive actions of the 300 riot police officers guarding the rally.

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