sofiaFather Evgenii Yanakiev, a local priest in the Orthodox Church, has encouraged people to “throw stones” at the participants of the Fifth Ever Sofia Pride Parade and has called for politicians who support the march to be “drowned in the sea with millstones tied around their necks”.

On Sturday 30th June, the pride parade is scheduled to take place in Bulgaria’s capital city

Last year, marchers in the Sofia Pride Parade were brutally attacked and beaten in the street when walking home after the Parade. The first Pride Parade in 2008 was firebombed with Molotov cocktails by skinheads and members of an extreme right wing party.

This year, these same extremists – including the Bulgarian National Union – have now been given a permit to hold a public event — ostensibly a “concert” but in reality a anti-Pride gathering – just a few hours before the Sofia Pride Parade.

While the march itself will have police present, an angry stirred-up mob of right wing extremists threatens to turn the day into a violence-filled free-for-all. Nothing prevents the mob from blocking people traveling to the Parade or following them home.

The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, the Sofia Pride Committee, and other human rights activists are asking the Bulgarian Orthodox Church to make an official statement condemning these calls for violence and officially distancing the Church from these statements. The Church refuses and instead issued a statement condemning the Pride Parade and ignoring the calls for violence.

An international campaign by AllOut.org will support the Bulgarian activists in pressuring Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova to revoke the permit for the “concert” and ensuring that the eyes of the world are on Sofia this Saturday.

Join the campaign by AllOut at: http://www.allout.org/bulgaria

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