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'Absolutely abhorrent': Far-right march in Sofia to honour pro-Nazi general

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A far-right rally in Sofia, Bulgaria
A far-right rally in Sofia, Bulgaria
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Far-right activists from several European countries joined a torchlit procession in Sofia honouring a Bulgarian pro-Nazi general.

Around 2,000 of them strode through the Bulgarian capital for the controversial annual Lukov March.

Hristo Lukov was the leader of the pro-Nazi Union of Bulgarian National Legions, which was active from 1932-1944 and espoused anti-Semitism, anti-communism and a one-party state.

Lukov, Bulgaria’s minister of war from 1935-1938, fostering close ties with senior Nazi officials in Germany. He was assassinated on February 13, 1943, by communist partisans in Sofia.

"General Lukov was a valiant militant officer - a (World War One) war hero, who has inspired the revival of the Bulgarian army," said Zvezdomir Andonov, an organiser of the march, which attracted activists from Germany, Sweden and Hungary.

Earlier there was a counter-protest held.

"We don't want any more of the 20th century nazism, we don't want any more of what we have seen destroy the lives of millions of people, and we want to stop it in the bud, even though we can see that there are nowadays fascists and people with neo-Nazi ideas on our streets," said Galina Lacheva, activist from the Food Not War NGO

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) and Bulgaria's political parties had called for the march to be suspended.

But organisers got a court order that overturned Sofia authorities attempt to ban the rally.

"It is absolutely abhorrent that in 2019 in Europe, the very place in which the Nazis attempted to wipe out the entire population of Jewish men, women, and children, far-rightists continue to parade unfettered through the streets with swastikas, SS symbols, and messages of hatred for Jews and other minorities," said WJC executive vice president Robert Singer.