Bulgarian nationalists have marched through Sofia, the country's capital, to honor a World War II general known for his anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi activities, the AP reports. The annual Lukov March, staged by the far-right Bulgarian National Union, attracted hundreds of dark-clad supporters who walked through downtown Sofia holding torches and Bulgarian flags and chanting nationalist slogans. It came despite strong condemnation by human rights groups, political parties, and foreign embassies. The city mayor had banned the rally but organizers won a court order overturning the ban. A heavy police presence blocked any clashes between nationalists and their opponents.
Ahead of the march, the World Jewish Congress warned about the rise of far-right activities across Europe aimed at promoting anti-Semitism, hatred, xenophobia, and Nazi glorification among young people. "This is not just a problem of the Jewish communities, but of European citizens and governments at large," the organization's CEO Robert Singer said. In Sofia, the marchers praised Gen. Hristo Lukov, who had supported Germany during World War II and was killed by an anti-fascist resistance movement on Feb. 13, 1943. The general served as Bulgaria's war minister from 1935 to 1938, and led the pro-Nazi Germany Union of Bulgarian Legions from 1932 until 1943. Organizers deny that Lukov was an anti-Semitic fascist or that they are neo-fascists, but claim that the descendants of the murderers of Lukov are afraid of the event.
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