On Saturday, February 12, Bulgarian anti-fascist groups demonstrated in the capital Sofia under the banner ‘No Nazis in Our Streets’ to counter the Lukovmarsh procession led by neo-Nazis in the city. The Lukovmarsh torch procession was held to honor Bulgarian General Hristo Nikolov Lukov, who was a Nazi collaborator. In response, progressive and anti-fascist sections organized a counter demonstration called anti-Lukovmarsh. This year, several organizations including Antifa Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Anti-fascist Union (BAS) participated. The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), We Continue the Change (WCC), and the BSP Youth Union also opposed the Lukovmarsh demonstration in Sofia.
Lukovmarsh has been organized by the far-right Bulgarian National Union (BNS) in Sofia since 2003. Neo-nazis from across Europe participate in the procession in honor of General Hristo Nikolov Lukov who was the leader of the Union of Bulgarian National Legions (SBNL) and a close collaborator of the Nazi Third Reich. Even though the authorities have refused permission for Lukovmarsh demonstrations for several years, neither they nor law enforcement agencies actively oppose its actual conduct, and also continue to tolerate the activities of extremist organizations like the BNS.
In their appeal against the Lukovmarsh, Antifa Bulgaria stated, “Today, the ideological successors of the Nazi collaborator Hristo Lukov are appearing in more and more places around the country, organizing torchlight processions and other obvious or covered up neo-Nazi events that become rallying points for domestic and foreign neo-Nazi groups, attacks on the streets, as well as creating provocations and attacking protests and events that are promoting progressive ideas, such as the Pride marches and the protest against violence against women.”
“Under the apathetic gaze of those in power and the protection of the wardens of public order, they will again try to emerge from the shameful chapters of the past to provoke hatred and sow discontent and divisions in society,” the group added.
The BAS also condemned the systematic attempts to rehabilitate the legacy of Hristo Lukov. The BAS stated that “there is no reason for Lukov, a Nazi collaborator, to be declared a national hero just because he commanded troops during the First World War!”
On February 11, Aleksandar Simov, MP from the BSP, stated in Bulgaria’s National Assembly, “It is necessary to make a democratic cordon around those forces in our society that are trying to resurrect the darkest ghosts of the past – who try, time and time again, every year, to make a torch procession of hate that goes against all the principles of Bulgarian society. This society that once saved its Jews. This society, which Hannah Arendt herself acknowledged has indeed shown tolerance in the darkest age. And because of this, on behalf of BSP, I strongly oppose the conduct of Lukovmarsh.”