Neo-Nazi Lukov March banned in Sofia, Bulgaria

The Bulgarian government cancelled this year’s neo-Nazi Lukov March in Sofia, Bulgaria, which has been held for 20 years.

The Lukov March is a neo-Nazi march honouring Hristo Lukov, the World War II-era leader of a Nazi collaborationist group, held by the far-right Bulgarian National Union-New Democracy Party. The march has been held almost every year since 2003, and although city officials in Sofia had long sought to ban the march, they were usually blocked from doing so by the courts.

A ban was upheld in 2021, but the march went on in 2022, reports The Jerusalem Post. This year, city officials, as well as leaders of Bulgaria’s small Jewish community, asked the court to reinstate the ban, which it did only hours before nationalists were set to march with torches through the city centre. Nazi sympathisers who travelled to Sofia from around Europe were blocked from marching.

The Lukov March has become the trademark event of fascist organisations in Bulgaria, normalising the presence of extremists.

The World Jewish Congress and American Jewish Committee also urged the Bulgarian government to prevent the march. By cancelling it, “the Bulgarian government and civil society have sent an unequivocal message that antisemitism, racial hatred and all other forms of xenophobia and intolerance have no place in contemporary Bulgaria,” the WJC said in a statement on Sunday. “In so doing, they have set a powerful example, to be emulated by other countries that face similar challenges which have no place in contemporary Europe.”