On Saturday, Feb. 13, in Sofia, approximately 100 people organized by Anti-Fascist Bulgaria (ANTIFA BG) took to the streets armed with signs, stickers, megaphones, and music in protest of the 18 annual fascist Lukovmarsh.
The Lukovmarsh is an annual procession in honor and remembrance of Hristo Lukov, a Bulgarian general and avid supporter of the Third Reich during World War II. The march was to begin at the National Palace of Culture in the center of town and culminate at the residence where General Lukov was murdered on Trakia street.
Lukovmarsh is organized by the Bulgarian National Union (BNU), a Bulgarian far-right political party that promotes “the unification of all true and conscious Bulgarians,” according to the BNU website.
On Saturday afternoon, hours after the ANTIFA demonstration ended, the Sofia municipality ordered the BNU Nazis to disburse. Sofia police separated the Lukovmarsh into sparse groups which then made their way to the Lukov residence for a small wreath service in honor of the Nazi general.
The diverse crowd of people from the LGBT+, Roma, and refugee communities and their allies sang and chanted through the streets of Sofia, surrounded on all sides by anti-conflict police officers.
“София не е Нацистки Град!”
“Sofia is not Nazi Тown!”
"Чужденци, бежанци - всички сте добре дошли"
"Foreigners, refugees, all of you are welcome here!"
"Българи и роми/турци - всички сме едно!"
"Bulgarians and Roma/Turks - all are one!"
“Lukovmarsh is not something that you will see and feel in a real democratic state,” said Mihail Mishev in an interview after the protest. Mishev is an AUBG student and an activist with Roma Standing Conference (RSC), a coalition of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for Roma civil rights and empowerment.
“I was there today to share the fight against these fascists with the people there, also to represent the Roma community at the protest because 1.5 million Roma were murdered during the holocaust, so I protest for them,” Mishev said.
Many protesters gave fiery speeches at the start and end of their march. “If we are informed by the politicians a person might say that the country is doing all it can do to end the Anti-semitism, the racism,” Mishev said through his megaphone, “Is it true?” The crowd booed and cheered along with the speech. “The fascism kills and the government is hiding it. We are here to prevent what happened in the 20th century. Although we are now relatively few people, I believe that next year we will be hundreds, if not thousands of people. We must not allow fascists into our government!"
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