People wave a Russian flag and national flag of Bulgaria during a march for Peace and Neutrality in Sofia, Bulgaria, 23 April 2023. . EPA-EFE/VASSIL DONEV


Pro-Russian protesters vandalise EU offices in Sofia


Protesters in Bulgaria threw red paint at the building of the representation of the European Commission in Sofia during a “March for Peace and Neutrality” on Sunday.

The march was attended by supporters of the Vazrazhdane-party or Revival-party, a pro-Russian nationalist party, and the Bulgarian Socialist Party, which is represented in the European Parliament.

Protesters said they want to stay neutral in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and are annoyed by the “European Union’s interference in domestic affairs”.

Similar peace marches were held in another 39 cities and communities across Bulgaria. Some marchers carried Bulgarian and Russian flags.

In Sofia, the protesters went to the EC building, named the House of Europe, and threw red paint that they said symbolised the blood of the victims of war. They say EU’s military support to Ukraine only prolongs and worsens the war.

The splattered building is also used by the European Parliament.

Boyko Borisov, the leading political figure in Bulgaria, condemned the vandalism of the protesters. He called it “extremely alarming”. He also pointed toward Russia, which he accused of executing “hybrid attempts to infiltrate our society.”

“The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental value in every democratic society, but any act of violence or vandalism against buildings of European institutions is unacceptable,” said the European Commission.

Bulgaria’s Foreign Ministry said that it categorically condemned the attack. The acts contradicted “the democratic values ​​that our country embodies,” the ministry said.

Bulgaria has been shaken by a political crisis. Boyko Borisov appointed former EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel to try to create a government.