Some 2,000 neo-Nazis shouted slogans and carried torches through Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, in the annual march honoring Nazi general Hristo Lukov.
As Bulgaria sided with Germany in World War II, the Nazi general served as war minister, led the pro-Nazi Union of Bulgarian National Legions from 1932 until 1943 and fostered close links with the Nazi party in Germany.
Lukov is also known for spearheading the introduction of anti-Semitic laws modeled after the 1935 Nuremberg Race Laws. He was assassinated by two Communist resistance fighters on February 13, 1943.
The Saturday march was organized by the nationalist Bulgarian National Union, whose representatives deny Lukov was an anti-Semite.
Zvezdomir Andonov, of the far-right party, said that the march’s organizers’ goal is “the salvation of the Bulgarian people” from the social and economic crisis.
Ahead of the far-right march, several hundred people staged a counter-protest under the slogan “No Nazis in the streets.”
Human rights groups, political parties, and foreign embassies criticized the march organizers for promoting racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism.
Police said no violence was reported at either of the marches.