Right-wing hooligans led by Bulgarian presidential candidate Boyan Rasate invaded the LGBT+ center “rainbow hub” during an event for trans community. Within minutes, they destroyed years of hard work and the only safe space in Sofia for LGBT+.
Update – 28. July 2023: After years of work and public pressure from LGBT+ organizations in Bulgaria and abroad, the Bulgarian National Assembly finally included hate crimes based on sexual orientation to the country’s criminal code. Just a few days before the attack, LGBT+ community delivered a petition to the Ministry of Justice, urging them to finally take serious actions against hate crimes against LGBT+ community.
This summer alone, ultra-nationalists groups organized multiple targeted attacks on Pride events and teenagers attacked their peers for their perceived sexual orientation on multiple occasions in several cities in the country.
LGBT+ organizations had started the petition, answering years of silence towards their pleas from the same ministry to take action.
Again, they received no answer!
Shortly after, a dozen right-wing hooligans, led by presidential candidate Boyan Rasate, stormed the LGBT+ center in the capital, on Saturday, October 30th 2021.
Rasate forced entry for his mob by punching a young woman in the face. Within a few minutes, the men destroyed the entire office, smashing computers, kicking in windows and furniture and spray-painting walls and interiors. A group of young trans people who attended a workshop were left scared and traumatized.
Rasate is Bulgaria's presidential candidate for the far-right party Bulgarian National Union – New Democracy in the upcoming elections. He is also the founder and former leader of the far-right informal organization Bulgarian National Union (officially registered as the "Bulgarian National Union - Edelweiss").
This is what our community center looks like after the attack.
Due to the enormous public attention and pressure, the immunity of Rasate was lifted within 48 hours and he is currently under arrest. But that is not enough!
The Bulgarian Government and the Prosecutor General must finally stop ignoring the LGBT+ community and take action. The Bulgarian Criminal Code must be updated and hate crimes against LGBT+ people must be investigated and prosecuted properly.