Sofia Postpones Gay Pride Over Security Fears
Reposted from Balkan Insight: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/sofia-pride-parade-postponed-over-security-concerns
The Bulgarian capital’s gay pride parade scheduled for Saturday has been postponed by the authorities, who cited fears that extremists could disrupt the event.
The parade has been postponed on the insistence of the Sofia municipal authorities and the Bulgarian interior ministry, the organisers said.
Since peaceful protests against the appointment of a controversial media mogul as national security head began last Friday, small extremist groups have staged counter-rallies, attempting to provoke protesters and start clashes.
The authorities fear that the extremists could also attack the Sofia Pride parade.
Sofia Pride organiser Mihail Vuchkov told local media that the event is likely to take place in September instead.
The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights NGO, has criticised the cancellation, saying that the Sofia municipal authorities have succumbed to pressure from the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.
The NGO also pointed out that the local authorities have failed to ban homophobic hate rallies that are to be staged on Saturday.
The first Sofia Pride parade took place in 2008 and was only attended by around 100 people, but the number of people joining the event has been growing each year since then.
The 2013 Sofia Pride was supported by 14 foreign embassies in Bulgaria.