The United States Department of State has issued a warning to citizens that the Sofia Pride Parade and an anti-LGBT counterdemonstration by a group called the National Resistance are scheduled to occur simultaneously in the same location in Sofia on Saturday, June 10. Both events are planned to be held from 18:00 to 22:00 (local time) beginning at the Monument of the Soviet Army. The National Resistance has pledged to protect the country from “foreign ideologies” and called on members to bring brooms and shovels with wooden handles to “cleanse Sofia of garbage.” Given the proximity of the groups and nature of the demonstrations, violent confrontations are possible. Avoid the area.
This is the tenth annual LGBT Pride parade in Sofia. Each year, a protest against the march is also organized. Organizers of the LGBT parade have protested the decision to allow the anti-LGBT demonstration to occur in the same location as their planned event. In 2011, counterdemonstrators injured five marchers.
Individuals attending the Sofia Pride Parade are advised to anticipate an increased security presence and to report any suspicious objects or behavior to local authorities. Exercise caution in the area, particularly along the march route, as violent clashes could occur.