On Sunday night we left Zagreb by train headed first to Belgrade, Serbia, and then by connecting train to Sofia, Bulgaria. Going by train was a change of pace from all the flying we’ve been doing recently, but fifteen hours on a train seemed rather grueling by the end. Anyway, now we’re in Sofia to document the project’s 11th Pride. Like most place in Eastern Europe it is not very easy to hold a Pride event here, which makes getting to know the people who do organize these events all the more interesting.
We didn’t have much time to settle into Sofia as about an hour after the train arrived we were due to attend a press briefing to officially start the week of Sofia Pride. One of the organizers of this year’s pride is Marko, who we’d had a chance to meet during Athens Pride (and the regional solidarity conference held beforehand). In addition to the press briefing, Marko informed us that they were also opening a photo exhibit that night showing images from past Sofia Prides.
The history of Sofia Pride is still relatively young. The first Pride took place in 2008 with about 150 participants, but also with strong opposition from local far-right wing groups. During the event Molotov cocktails were thrown, and 88 protestors were arrested. The second Pride, 2009, faired better with 300 pro-LGBT participants, support of dozen of foreign embassies, and no violence. This year will be the third Pride March, and it has the theme of “Love equality, embrace diversity”
Here’s some a video/pics of the past marches:
As you’ll notice in 2009 Pride participants were given hard hats to wear!
Sofia Pride 2009:
Sofia Pride 2008: