Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
MHRMI Condemns Bulgaria39s Provocations and Intimidation at Macedonian Minority Event
Press Release

MHRMI Condemns Bulgaria's Provocations and Intimidation at Macedonian Minority Event

Bulgarian authorities continue to crack down on Macedonians’ human rights and any expression of Macedonian identity in Bulgaria, with actions and tactics fully sanctioned by the European Union, the United States, and the collective West.

The number of incidents have increased exponentially as a direct result of the West’s endorsement of Bulgaria’s anti-Macedonian demands (see the European Union’s official adoption of Bulgaria’s policies, known as the “French Proposal"). The demands include, but are not limited to: renouncing the existence of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria; the Macedonian language, nation, and culture as a whole; adoption of official Bulgarian policy that everyone and everything Macedonian is "really Bulgarian"; the revision of Macedonian history to deny that Bulgaria was an ally of Nazi Germany during WWII, occupied Macedonia, and committed heinous war crimes against Macedonians, including the expulsion of over 7,000 Macedonian Jews to the Treblinka death camp in Poland; and that Bulgaria be referred to as a "liberator" instead of an occupier of Macedonia.

In exchange for aid in eradicating the existence of Macedonians' identity, culture, history and human rights, Bulgaria pledged to lift its veto of Macedonia’s EU membership bid. The West, as it consistently does, either turns a blind eye to human rights abuses or, more frequently, directly aids in their execution.

Macedonian minority organizations describe the events of April 21, 2024:

"At a Macedonian minority commemoration in Melnik, with guests attending from all over Pirin Macedonia, Sofia, Shumen, the Republic of Macedonia, and Aegean Macedonia, Bulgarian authorities mobilized a grossly disproportionate number of uniformed and plainclothes police officers to apply excessive pressure, intimidation and provocations on the Macedonian participants. Buses were stopped up to 80 kilometres from the site of the gathering, and the officers identified and took pictures of the personal documents of all passengers. They inspected the luggage and confiscated flags of the event organizers, and even those of the European Free Alliance, a party with several members in European Parliament and which is very vocal in their support of Macedonians’ rights. There was a ban on waving flags and any attempt to do so led to the flag being confiscated. All banners were also banned, and one man was even ordered to take off his hoodie with the logo "I love Macedonia". One particular bus was stopped twice and the passengers were identified twice.

Further, police checkpoints were put up in Papaz Cair, Delcevo, Melnik and Rozen. At the two sites where flowers were being laid - at the grave of Jane Sandanski in the Rozenski Monastery and in Melnik were covered by a huge number of police officers, and the participants were filmed by plainclothes agents. An attempt to create a provocation was made by the so-called "Macedonya" foundation (a Bulgarian organization which is notorious for its anti-Macedonian hate speech and activities), which covered Sandanski's grave with Bulgarian flags and placed the name of their foundation on his monument.

The provocation is in the fact that Sandanski was killed on the orders of the Bulgarian government. Instead of having a government institution lay a wreath with an apology for this act, a Bulgarian flag was placed on his grave on the anniversary of his death, which could easily provoke participants into reacting and could cause an incident. Still, the hopes of the intelligence services and the Bulgarian association to cause a provocation were in vain, as the Macedonians did not succumb to their provocations. Still, it was surprising to see people who declare to be Bulgarians use their state flag as an instrument of provocation."

Further, Bulgarian authorities are using the planted Bulgarian flags to claim that Macedonians chose to "celebrate" them and have (suddenly and magically) "stopped" declaring their Macedonian ethnic heritage.

Bulgaria's anti-Macedonian actions have also spread to pursuing the eradication of Macedonians in Albania and Greece and claiming them as "Bulgarian".

Instead of aiding and abetting (and even leading) such policies, the European Union, United States, and collective West could simply (but choose not to) abide by the vast number of international human rights conventions that were designed to guarantee human rights, and the EU's own Charter of Fundamental Rights, namely:

TITLE III - EQUALITY, Article 21: Non-discrimination

1. Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.

Macedonian Human Rights Movement International (MHRMI) has been active on human and national rights issues for Macedonians and other oppressed peoples since 1986. MHRMI demands respect for Macedonia's name, identity and human rights for oppressed Macedonians in the Balkans. For more information: 1-416-850-7125,,,,, #OurNameIsMacedonia