Bulgaria's Sofia Joins #RefugeesWelcome InitiativeSociety | September 13, 2015, Sunday // 10:42| views
Photos by BGNES
Bulgarians on Saturday took to the streets of the capital Sofia to show solidarity with the hardship of migrants fleeing the war in Syria and seeking a better life in Europe.
The so-called Ladies' Market (Zhenski Pazar), in an area with a compact population from (both "old" and "new" migrants) the Middle East and North Africa, was the starting point of the rally which sent out a message of tolerance and called for the concept of "Fortress Europe" to be abandoned.
Saturday's demonstration ended in front of the EU Commission office building in downtown Sofia. Participants held placards reading "Europe Says Welcome", "Europe Is Not a Fortress", "Stop Killing Refugees", or "Xenophobia Is Illegal, People Are Not".
Protesters urged the annulment of the Dublin II Regulation which allows for migrants to be sent back to those EU countries that served as an entry point and where they were registered.
The international #RefugeesWelcome initiative includes most EU member states, the US and Australia.
It comes amid mounting pressure of the influx of migrants crossing into Europe bound for Germany and other Western countries.
A "counter-protest" was also held near the pro-migrant rally in downtown Sofia to demand that the EU take a U-turn in its policy on accepting migrants and introducing quotas for member states.
Tensions between the two groups, however, only amounted to a brief verbal clash, and the #RefugeesWelcome demonstration went on peacefully.