A protest against the 2018 Lukov March is to be held in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia on February 17 at noon, hours before the 5.30pm start of the annual torchlight parade in honour of the pro-Nazi general.
Entitled “No to Nazis on our Streets”, and “No to Fortress Europe”, the protest against the Lukov March is similar to ones held in previous years. It will begin at the garden next to the Sofia History Museum, pass the European Commission representation building and end at the Sofia municipal headquarters.
The organisers of the protest against the Lukov March said that “this year, the neo-Nazi procession coincides with the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU and the two events are inextricably linked to us”.
The organisers, from the Bulgarian branch of antifa, said: “The endless anti-immigrant, racist and xenophobic rhetoric of the European political elite, as well as the cruel militarized border policy maintained by parties of the entire political spectrum are undoubtedly one of the main reasons for the rise of neo-Nazi, chauvinistic and xenophobic formations that are no longer just a sub-cultural phenomenon, but are part of the government at all levels throughout the continent”.
In an illustrated document sent to the media along with its media statement, the organisation said that the groups and individuals from Bulgaria and abroad who supported the Lukov March had shown clear support for Nazi ideology.
The document also rejected what it called myths about Lukov, the general who led the pro-Nazi Germany Union of Bulgarian National Legions from the 1930s until his assassination in February 1943. It rejected claims that he was a war hero, and rejected claims that he had no ties to the Third Reich.
“The facts show that the Union of Bulgarian National Legions messages clearly proclaim anti-Semitism, xenophobia, totalitarianism and fascism. The Union of Youth National Legions, precursor of the Union of Bulgarian National Legions, had a swastika in its logo, which it removed after the realising the Nazis would lose the war,” the document said, adding that the Legionaires, in the shape of Lukov, had tried to force the government of the time to send the Bulgarian Jews to Nazi Germany’s Second World War death camps.
Meanwhile, the organisers of the Lukov March have their own schedule of events, announced in a poster in English. In 2018, as in past years, neo-Nazi groups from elsewhere in Europe are expected to take part in the Lukov March.
According to the poster, the foreign guests will be welcomed at a party on February 16 “at a private club”.
There will be speeches by Zvezdomir Andronov, leader of the Bulgarian National Union (“The future belongs to us”), Blagovest Asenov, of the Bulgarian National Resistance (“Our path and struggle”), Matthias Deyda of Die Rechte from Dortmund in Germany (“Europe Awake!”).
The programme also promises a band from Russia, and “special guests” from Sweden and Germany.
On February 17, the day of the Lukov March, the programme includes an “historical walk around the centre of Sofia for all international guests of Lukov March”.
The planned 2018 Lukov March, the 15th consecutive such annual event, has drawn widespread condemnation, including from the largest governing party GERB, opposition party the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Bulgaria’s National Co-ordinator of the Fight against Anti-Semitism Georg Georgiev, the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria “Shalom”, and international Jewish organisations including the World Jewish Congress.
An international petition against the march has gathered more than 178 000 signatures.
An attempt by Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova to ban the march or restrict its route was overturned by the Supreme Administrative Court. Every year, the march – whether banned or not – has proceeded, with a heavy police escort, along a route in the centre of the city, with participants paying homage at Lukov’s house in Trakiya Street, off Dondoukov Boulevard.