Bulgaria: Second Annual Sofia Pride March


You can see pictures from Sofia Pride 2009 by clicking here .

On June 23, 2009, IGLHRC, with the help of Bulgarian organizers, sent a letter to Bulgarian officials asking them to support and ensure the protection of the second annual Pride march in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Last year, a week before the first LGBT march, the Bulgarian National Alliance (BNA) called for a “Week of Intolerance,” with the slogan “be normal, be intolerant.” The BNA encouraged other nationalist groups to organize against the right of LGBT Bulgarians and their supporters to march peacefully. This resulted in violence during the march: BNA members and other neo-Nazis threw rocks, Molotov cocktails, and small explosives at the marchers. Many of the attackers, including the head of the BNA, Boyan Rasate, were arrested for the violence surrounding the march.

This year, neo-Nazi groups organized again against the march. Additionally, this intolerance and potential violence were publicly encouraged by parties in Parliament, such as the Veliko Makedonska Revolucionna Organizacia (VMRO), which characterized LGBT marches as “blackmail” and “strongly opposes” them in an official statement, and Ataka, which called upon Bulgarian men to “beat up the gays.”

The march, held on June 27th, 2009, reportedly had a turnout of 300 people and was without incident.