LI LGBTI WG Chair Calls on the Mayor of Sofia to Protect the LGBTI Community

Chair of LI LGBTI Working Group Frank Van Dalen has called on the Mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, to protect the rights of the LGBTI community in light of the news that Sofia Pride is in danger. The statement was prompted after a number of different anti-LGBTI incidents in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, which as it has recently emerged has allowed a so-called “clean up” action by the ultra nationalist group “National Resistance” on the same day and place as the annual Gay Pride in the city.

Inviting its followers on Facebook to bring equipment “with long wooden handles” to do “the job”, the “National Resistance” Group made rather concrete comments about its intentions as per the excerpt below:

We coordinated with the Sofia Municipality and the Regional Office of the Republic of Bulgaria to kick-off the beginning of our campaign "Clear the garbage of Sofia". We look forward to seeing you on 10.06.2017 at 5 pm near the Soviet Army Monument. We saw that some sick people had decided to walk the parade of sodomy, but this time they will have to miss it. Because these people are constantly telling us about the campaign on June 10th, you are welcome to clear everything "unclean" from our capital and then from Bulgaria! Do not stay home, we will do this all year round, and especially this day marking the tenth anniversary of Sodomites, WE WILL NOT HAVE A GAY PARADE IN OUR CITY! The law is on our side and everything depends on us.

Reacting to this appalling and hateful appeal on social  media, Van Dalen has called on the Bulgarian government and the municipality of Sofia

to respect and protect the rights of every minority and in this case the rights of the LGBT-community in Bulgaria as a decline in Human Rights will weaken Bulgaria's position in the European Union and the world and also fuel anger and rage at home.

“Ms Fandakova, perform your duties and keep the people in your city safe, do not bring them in danger” he further added.

Daniel Kaddik, Project Director for Southeast Europe (Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia and Moldova) for Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF, LI cooperating organisation) echoed Van Dalen’s remarks by stating that the municipality of Sofia is not only acting against all values they are supposed to protect as a member state of the European Union and the Council of Europe, but also putting in danger the well-being of thousands of people wanting to peacefully protest in order to gain rights that should be presupposed in the Union they live in.

The mayor of Sofia, Ms.Fandakova, should be working closely together with the other government institutions protecting the rights of the LGBT-community and guaranteeing their safety during a peaceful protest, not undermining them. Undercutting these events to take place in a peaceful matter is taking a step back in time an does not fit in the general idea of a progressive and open Europe with high standards of Human Rights

Kaddik concluded.

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