The organizing committee of Sofia Pride strongly condemns the obstruction of the peaceful screening of the film “Close” in Varna today, June 23, 2023. This happened after clear aggression by protesters and threats of violence, incompatible with the concept of a peaceful assembly. According to the Bulgarian constitution and international law, only peaceful assembly is protected under the law by the public authorities.
The responsibility for these events lies with the regional directorate of police, which did not counter the verbal and physical aggression, as well as with the mayor of the Varna municipality, who failed to exercise his powers to end the protest, in accordance with the Law on Assemblies, Rallies and Manifestations.
We call on the government and local authorities, as well as the District Prosecutor’s Office for the City of Varna, to take immediate measures against this intolerable violence incompatible with the rule of law and in gross violation of basic human rights. The Bulgarian authorities owe protection to peaceful assemblies and must counter discriminatory violence, including on the grounds of sexual orientation. If they do not understand this, then the court will have to explain it to them.
* Picture: Tatyana Christi