Bulgaria foreign ministry condemns far-right march

Bulgaria foreign ministry condemns far-right march

SOFIA – Reuters
Bulgaria foreign ministry condemns far-right march

Bulgaria’s foreign ministry condemned on Feb. 18 a march by hundreds of far-right supporters in honour of a Bulgarian general who led a pro-Nazi organisation in the 1930s and 1940s.

The two-hour torchlight procession went ahead in the capital Sofia late on Feb. 17 despite calls from Bulgaria’s largest parties, the U.S. embassy and several Jewish organizations 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.

The foreign ministry said that 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, joined by neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic groups from several European countries - marched to honor General Hristo Lukov, a leader of the pro-Nazi Union in the 1930s and 1940s.

Critics said the procession would overshadow government efforts to present the ex-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.