As in several previous years, the Shalom Organisation of the Jews of Bulgaria, the country’s EJC affiliate, has issued a call to the Sofia municipality to ban the 2017 “Lukov March”, a far-right torchlight procession honouring a Second World War general denounced by detractors as pro-Nazi and an antisemite.
Organised by the ultra-nationalist Bulgarian National Union and other far-right organisations, the march has been held since 2003 in honour of Hristo Lukov, who headed the Union of Bulgarian National Legions and was war minister in Bulgaria before his 1943 assassination.
Shalom is among several organisations, as well as foreign embassies including those of the United States, Russia and Israel, that repeatedly over the years have called for the banning of the Lukov March. Human rights organisations and some political parties also have joined these calls, and though in recent years the march has been banned, it inevitably has gone ahead.
In a February 14 statement, Shalom said that Lukov had headed one of the most radical organisations in Bulgaria, that preached racism and antisemitism.
“We must not allow today a torch procession to ignite hatred of the Other,” Shalom said. “Let us teach our children that in multifaceted Europe, ‘as others are to us, we are to others’.”
Shalom called on law enforcement institutions, in the form of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Interior Ministry, the State Agency for National Security, and the leadership of Sofia city council to take the necessary steps to maintain public order and to ban the demonstration.Thursday, February 16, 2017