Immortal Regiment marches in Sofia amid criticism 2023

Today, on Europe Day, the procession of the Immortal Regiment will take place in the Bulgarian capital Sofia, despite receiving widespread criticism in Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February of last year.

On the ninth of May, to commemorate the conclusion of World War II, Bulgarians participate in a march while carrying portraits of relatives who fought against the Nazis, as per Russian tradition.

The Municipality informed EURACTIV Bulgaria’s partner Sega that neither a notification nor an agreement regarding the impending event was received.

The Immortal Regiment Foundation chairman said the event will happen.

According to Ivanov, the Metropolitan Municipality cannot prohibit the event because the regime for conducting such events is founded on the notification and does not require a permit; however, the mayor can prohibit the event if it poses a threat to public safety.

However, for the second consecutive year, Sofia will be one of the few cities where a procession of the Immortal Regiment will take place, despite the conflict in Ukraine. Even Russia has canceled the event for this year, citing security concerns.

“During the event, only the flags of Bulgaria, Russia, Victory, and the USSR are permitted. The use of other slogans is encouraged so long as they are thematically related to Victory Day and the Immortal Regiment, according to a website created by the event’s organizers.

The procession occurred despite demands from right-wing forces in the Metropolitan Municipality not to permit it the previous year. Municipal council members from the pro-European coalition Democratic Bulgaria in Sofia have urged Mayor Yordanka Fandakova to ban it once more.

“Despite our appeal to you the previous year, this disgraceful event occurred. You permitted the display of hammer and sickle flags, KGB and Z symbols, Russian flags, and portraits of the assassins Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov in the center of Sofia. The situation is likely to replicate itself this year, as even the Russians have banned processions on their territory, the councillors wrote in a letter to the mayor.

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