Despite threats, no violence at Bulgaria pride parade

Despite threats of violence, this year’s Pride Parade on June 20 in Sofia, Bulgaria, went off without a hitch under the watchful eye of hundreds of security personnel.

“Everything was perfect,” says Marko Markov, one of the parade organizers, as reported by The Christian Science Monitor. “For four consecutive years there has been no violence at all at the parade itself, though we were very concerned this year. The far right is very loud but they know they can’t harm us.”

In 2008, during the country’s first Pride Parade, anti-gay onlookers threw gasoline bombs at marchers.

This year, organizers were worried because a Bulgarian Orthodox priest recently suggested throwing stones at participants in the parade. Instead of rebuking him, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church issued a statement in opposition to homosexuality and such parades.

The Associated Press reported that marchers numbered about 2,000, protected by hundreds of police and private security.

Before the march, ambassadors of Argentina, Austria, Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Serbia and the United States issued a statement calling the event “an opportunity to promote human rights and tolerance, celebrate diversity, and denounce homophobia.”

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