Bulgarian presidential candidate charged after storming LGBT office

by Reuters
Wednesday, 3 November 2021 15:43 GMT

A pro-LGBT demonstrator wearing a rainbow flag stands in front of police officers as Polish nationalists gather to protest against what they call "LGBT aggression" on Polish society, in Warsaw, Poland August 16, 2020. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel - RC22FI9AF03R

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A group of about 10 people led by far-right nationalist candidate stormed the Bulgarian 'Rainbow Hub' LGBT+ community centre during trans community event

SOFIA, Nov 3 (Reuters) - A far-right nationalist candidate in Bulgaria's Nov. 14 presidential election was detained and charged with hooliganism and infliction of an injury over a weekend attack on an LGBT community centre in Sofia, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Boyan Rasate, a politician known for his strong anti-LGBT positions, has been detained for 72 hours, after his legal immunity as a presidential candidate was waived.

He has not admitted any guilt and has declined to make a statement, prosecutors said.

"The crimes committed stand out with their extreme audacity and disrespect for the democratic foundations of the state," prosecutors said in a statement.

A group of about 10 people led by Rasate stormed the Rainbow Hub during a trans community event late on Saturday, hitting one employee in the face, and overturning stalls and tables, the Bilitis Foundation, which runs the centre, said. The attack has drawn criticism from Bulgaria's leading political parties and was strongly condemned by 11 Western embassies to Sofia.

The ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France, Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands among others have called the attack "senseless" and have visited the Rainbow Hub centre on Monday to show their solidarity.

Rasate, who was sentenced for violating public order during Sofia's first gay parade in 2008, faces up to five years in jail if convicted.

(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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