Bulgaria capitals

Extremists ransack LGBTI community center in Bulgarian capital

A group believed to belong to the extremist Bulgarian National Union and led by its presidential candidate Boyan Rasate ransacked the Rainbow Hub LGBTI community center in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia on the evening of October 30.

Rainbow Hub activist Gloria Filipova told media that during the assault, in which extensive property damage was caused to the center, Rasate hit her in the face.

The assault took place at a trans-themed event at the center.

Filipova told Nova Televizia that during the event there was a knock on the door.

“A group led by Boyan Rasate entered. I started screaming that they couldn’t get in, then he hit me. They started to smash everything. It all lasted a few minutes. I called 112 [the universal emergency number],” she said.

“In the end, Boyan Rasate and another man stayed. I had said they had done their job and could leave, but he replied that he was not finished yet and took out a knife and cut the tires of a scooter that was in here. The knife was not used against us, but there was a weapon, ”Filipova said.

The Rainbow Hub project was founded with the aim of increasing capacity and mobilizing the LGBTI community by supporting eight self-help groups at the community center, providing advocacy training and supporting advocacy initiatives for each group. .

A recent article by the Bulgarian National Union, a far-right minority group that espouses ultra-nationalist causes, said that at the Rainbow Hub there was “direct gender propaganda” aimed at children.

“We, the Bulgarian National Union and Kubrat Youth, categorically oppose such influences and perversions in Bulgaria,” the post said, adding a line – with the use of explosives – they would “do whatever is possible. “to stop it. “Don’t be tolerant, be normal,” the post said.

After the Rainbow Hub attack, the message was deleted.

Manuela Popova, communications officer at the Bilitis Foundation, noted that the attack came days after a petition with 8,000 signatures was filed with the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice calling for the inclusion of anti-crimes. LGBTI in Bulgarian law.

The Rainbow Hub incident is far from the only homophobic in Bulgaria recently. There was a series of such incidents before Sofia Pride 2021 and in recent years.

Popova told media that this was not the first such case at the center, which had received threats. Abusive stickers had been stuck on the doors of the center.

Contacted by Nova Televizia for comment, Rasate said he would not comment as his civil rights allowed him to refrain from commenting.

“The community should not be surprised by such attacks. They do propaganda among minors. It is only natural for something like this to happen, ”he said.

The Rainbow Hub attack took place with early presidential and parliamentary elections in Bulgaria in two weeks.

In an October 31 statement, the We Continue the Change party called the attack horrific.

“The fact that the leader of this gang is a presidential candidate only adds to the horror of this event,” the party said.

“Every Bulgarian citizen, regardless of gender, religion, beliefs, physical or mental restraints or sexual orientation, should be protected and safe in his home and office and his personality and property cannot be subjected to assaults, ”he said.

He called on the authorities to lift Rasate’s immunity from prosecution as a presidential candidate and to arrest the rest of the group.

“The Bulgarian public prosecutor’s office, which systematically refuses to defend Bulgarian citizens against theft and theft, should at least do what is necessary to defend their security,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, a fundraising initiative was launched by Rainbow Hub for the repair of the center.

Bank transfer in Bulgarian leva:

IBAN: BG34FINV915012BGN0AZRY

BIC: FINVBGSF

Billitis Foundation Resource Center

Or via paypal at [email protected]

For international donations in euros:

Bilitis Foundation Resource Center

IBAN: BG83FINV91501214904814

BIC: FINVBGSF

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