PES: Banning a far-right rally in Sofia is the appropriate action by the Bulgarian authorities

24/02/2020

Far-Right March - Sofia

A file photo of far-right supporters with torches during the Lukov March in the centre of Sofia in February 2018.
AFP

For the first time in 17 years, the torch procession commemorating a nazi Bulgarian general from the WWII period was cancelled.  

The PES welcomes the efforts of the Bulgarian judicial and local authorities to ban a far-right rally, that promoted nazi slogans, caused unrest and encouraged antisemitism for 17 years. The Supreme Administrative Court of Sofia declared illegal the torch procession, known as Lukov March. The ban came after series of efforts from the Bulgarian attorney general, who launched an investigation against the far-right movement organising the rally and from the mayor of Sofia, who requested the rally to be outlawed by the judges. 

PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

“Declaring this neo-Nazi rally illegal is a clear sign to the far-right in Bulgaria, but also abroad. Europe will not tolerate any activity that encourages racism, antisemitism or hatred. The Bulgarian authorities – the attorney general, who launched the probe against the organisers, the local authorities and the Supreme Administrative Court did what had to be done to prevent a neo-Nazi outburst, in the name of peace and mutual respect among citizens. This is a very important step, especially coming just a few days after the deaths in the racist attack in Hanau, Germany.” 

With the Lukov March, held yearly in Sofia on 22 February, the Bulgarian far-right supporters commemorated the late General Hristo Lukov, leader of a Bulgarian fascist organization during World War II. The torch procession in Sofia attracted neo-Nazis from all over Europe.

The decision of the court to ban the so-called Lukov March was welcomed by the anti-fascist veteran organizations in Bulgaria, by members of the government, the United States embassy in Sofia, the World Jewish Congress and many more.