Lukov March: Far-right supporters rally in Bulgaria

Lukov March: Far-right supporters rally in Bulgaria
From Al Jazeera - February 17, 2018

Sofia, Bulgaria - More than 1,000 far-right supporters have rallied in Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, to pay tribute to a fascist general with close ties to Nazi Germany.

"Lukov March" is organised every year by the Bulgarian National Union (BNS) to mark the death of Hristo Lukov, a 1930s defence minister and an ultra-nationalist leader who was assassinated by a communist group in 1943.

Shouting slogans such as "Freedom or death!" and "All communists to court!Bulgariais taking a new nationalist path!", the two-hour procession passed through central Sofia on Saturday amid heavy police presence.

Members of far-right groups from a number of other European countries also joined the rally, including about 50 Germansfrom the Die Rechte and Junge Nationalisten organisations.

Ten members of the French Jeune Nation group were also in attendance, along with severalSwedish supporters of the Nordic Resistance Movement.

Earlier in the day, 200 people gathered in Sofia for a counter-protest under the slogan, "No Nazis in our streets! And no to Fortress Europe!"

Who was Lukov?

In the 1930s and 1940s, Lukov led the Union of Bulgarian National Legions, which is seen as a fascist and anti-Semitic organisation. Its ideological successor, the BNS, has been accused of espousing similar views.

Plamen Dimitrov, a BNS leader, rejected accusations that the march to honour Lukov was anti-Semitic.

"The Jewish community is not a subject of our march so there is no reason to talk about anti-Semitism," Dimitrov said, claiming that the rally has not violated Bulgarian lawthroughout its 15-year history.

When asked about the accusations of anti-Semitism against Lukov, Robert Eklund, a member of the Nordic Resistance Movement who attended the march for the third time, said: "Even if he was an anti-Semite, it would not be a problem for us, not for me anyway."

Prior to the march, organisers had instructed participants not to engage in provocative behaviour.

BNS minders followed the procession closely, and at least on one occasion sanctioned a marcher who did a Nazi salute.

Widespread condemnation


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