Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki and Twitter/@BilitisLGBTI
A Bulgarian presidential candidate has been charged with public order offences after an LGBTQ centre in the capital, Sofia, was attacked over the weekend.
Prosecutors had waived Boyan Rasate’s right to immunity and he has now been detained for 72 hours.
The Bilitis Foundation’s Rainbow Hub was stormed by a dozen people on Saturday (30 October) during a meeting and left vandalised with one person being punched in the face.
"The crimes committed stand out with their extreme audacity and disrespect"
On Wednesday (3 November) Rasate, the leader of Bulgaria’s far-right National Union, was arrested and charged with hooliganism and inflicting injury, as reported by Reuters.
Rasate could face five years in prison. Prosecutors say he has not admitted guilt and generally declined to comment.
In a statement, prosecutors say: "The crimes committed stand out with their extreme audacity and disrespect for the democratic foundations of the state."
The attack was condemned by various political parties, as well as ambassadors from eleven countries, including the UK. The British Ambassador, Rob Dixon, described the attack as "senseless" and affirmed his support with the country’s LGBTQ community.
Rasate was previously sentenced for disturbing Sofia's first Pride parade in 2008.
Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation and/or gender identity are not recognised in Bulgaria.