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A Bulgarian LGBTQ rights group said the leader of an ultra-nationalist political party running for president carried out an attack on their offices and community center on Saturday.
The Bilitis Foundation in a series of tweets said that “a group of about 10 men and women stormed” the Rainbow Hub, a community center it operates in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, along with the GLAS Foundation (Gays and Lesbians Accepted in Society). around 5:30 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. ET).
At around 5:30 p.m., a group of ten men and women stormed the Rainbow Hub managed by @BilitisLGBTI and the GLAS Foundation, hitting our colleague Gloriya in the face, vandalizing the space, destroying equipment and furniture. (read ⬇️)
– Bilitis Foundation 🏳️🌈 (@BilitisLGBTI) October 30, 2021
The Bilitis Foundation said the attack took place during a “gathering of the trans community”.
The attackers, according to the Bilitis Foundation, vandalized the office and hit Gloriya Filipova, the group’s project coordinator, in the face. The Bilitis Foundation said Boyan Rasate, who heads the Bulgarian National Union and is “” well known for his LGBTI-phobic actions and statements, “organized the attack.
“All I have always aimed for is to create safer spaces for our community,” Filipova tweeted after the attack. “Yesterday my greatest fear came true: our community center was destroyed and I was punched in the face. I’m sure we have enough love to heal, but it really hurts. It is time for the BG (Bulgarian) institutions to act.
All I have always aimed for was to create safer spaces for our community. Yesterday my greatest fear came true: our community center was destroyed and I was punched in the face. I’m sure we have enough love to heal, but it really hurts. It is time for the BG institutions to act. https://t.co/z4RZB0d0Vl
– Gloriya Filipova (@GloriyaFilipova) October 30, 2021
ILGA-Europe condemned the attack and urged the Bulgarian authorities “to publicly condemn the attacks, to investigate and to sanction the attackers”. EuroPride is among other organizations that have expressed support for the Bilitis and GLAS foundations.
BREAKING: While the Rainbow Hub in Sofia was hosting a trans event this afternoon, nationalist thugs broke in and attacked the organizers and guests, and ransacked the venue. We are with @BilitisLGBTI and the GLAS Foundation and the whole community in Bulgaria. pic.twitter.com/gaCL0zePeG
– EuroPride • EPOA (@EuroPride) October 30, 2021
Bulgaria is a Balkan country bordering Serbia, North Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Romania and the Black Sea.
The Bilitis Foundation in a tweet notes that it, together with AllOut, submitted to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice a petition with more than 8,000 signatures less than two weeks ago that demands that the country’s Criminal Code include hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. On October 27, the Bulgarian Constitutional Court ruled that the word “gender” only applies to “the biological sense”.