(WB) A Bulgarian LGBT rights group says the leader of an ultranationalist political party who is running for president led an attack against their offices and community center on Saturday.

The Bilitis Foundation in a series of tweets said “a group of about 10 men and women stormed” the Rainbow Hub, a community center it runs in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, with the GLAS (Gays and Lesbians Accepted in Society) Foundation at around 5:30 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. ET).

The Bilitis Foundation said the attack took place during a “trans community gathering.”

The assailants, according to the Bilitis Foundation, vandalized the office and struck Gloriya Filipova, the group’s project coordinator, in the face. The Bilitis Foundation said Boyan Rasate, who leads the Bulgarian National Union and is “well-known for his LGBTI-phobic actions and statements,” masterminded the attack.

“All I ever aimed for was creating safer spaces for our community,” tweeted Filipova after the attack. “Yesterday my biggest fear came true: Our community center was destroyed and I got punched in the face. I’m sure that we have enough love to heal, but this really hurts. It is time for the BG [Bulgarian] institutions to act.”

ILGA-Europe has condemned the attack and urged Bulgarian authorities “to publicly condemn the attacks, investigate and sanction the attackers.” EuroPride is among the other organizations that have expressed support for the Bilitis and GLAS Foundations.

Bulgaria is a Balkan country that borders Serbia, North Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Romania and the Black Sea.

The Bilitis Foundation in a tweet notes it, along with AllOut, less than two weeks ago submitted to the Bulgarian Justice Ministry a petition with more than 8,000 signatures that demands the country’s Criminal Code include hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The Bulgarian Constitutional Court on Oct. 27 ruled the word “gender” only applies to the “biological sense.”


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