300 Rally with Own Guards for Bulgaria Second Gay Parade
Close to 300 people rallied for Bulgaria's second gay pride parade in Sofia Saturday.
This year's participants were more than in June 2008 when about 150 people rallied.
In addition to the mass-scale security measures taken by the Sofia riot police, the organizers of the event have hired private security firms on their own.
All that had been motivated by last year's parade when skin heads and other far-right extremists attacked the gay parade with stones and Molotov cocktails leading to the arrest of 80 people.
Unlike the 2008 parade, this year's procession was not harassed by homophobic acts of aggression. Only at one point a number of passers-by booed the parade participants.
Bulgaria's second gay parade included about 30 representatives of foreign gay rights organizations from Sweden, England, Greece, Romania, and Macedonia.
The parade started at 4:30 local time at the National Palace of Culture, and proceeded to its end point - the "Red House" debate club, reaching it in about half an hour.
It is under the motto "Rainbow Friendship", and is organized by several organizations of gays and lesbians including InterPride, Gemini, ID Club, Bilitis.
The participants wore colorful safety helmets as a symbol of their desire to have discrimination-free employment. A number of them complained of discrimination at the work place because of their sexual orientation.
Bulgaria's second gay parade marks the 40th anniversary since the events in "Stonewall", New York, where the international LGBT movement was founded on June 27, 1969.
A week earlier the Bulgarian Orthodox Church launched a procession against the gay parade which was attended largely by far-right extremists.
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