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SOFIA, Bulgaria – 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, with the GLAS Foundation (Gays and Lesbians Accepted in Society). around 5:30 p.m. local time (8:30 a.m. PT).

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.

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.

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”.


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