On Sunday, May 21, 2023, a large demonstration will take place in downtown Sofia. The demonstration will begin at the National Palace of Culture (NDK) at 2:00 p.m. The demonstration will transition into a march that will depart the NDK at 3:30 p.m. enroute to the Presidency, National Assembly 1, and Eagle Bridge, before returning to National Assembly 1. Authorities expect the demonstration to end at around 7:30 p.m.
According to local officials, this demonstration participants will include members of the political party “Vazrazhdane,” and will focus on the following topics:
· NATO membership
· Bulgarian sovereignty (Euro, Ukraine issues)
· Gender identity
Host nation authorities expect anywhere between five to ten thousand participants depending on weather conditions.
Host nation authorities will block vehicle traffic. Please anticipate road closures and an increased police presence in this area. This may result in delays, roadblocks, and in a general increase in normal weekend traffic throughout downtown Sofia. Please note that the times and routes of the march and road closures can change.
Actions to Take:
* Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent.
* Avoid areas of demonstrations.
* Exercise caution if unexpectedly found in the vicinity of large gatherings or demonstrations.
* Be aware of your surroundings.
* Monitor local media for updates.
* Keep a low profile.
* U.S. Citizens are advised to call the police (#112), seek a safe location, and wait for assistance from the police
· U.S. Embassy Sofia, Bulgaria
* +359-2-937-5100 (business hours)
* +359-2-937-5101 (after hours—emergencies only—arrest, death, or danger to the safety and security of U.S. citizens)
· State Department – Consular Affairs
* 888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
* Bulgaria Country Information<https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Bulgaria.html#/>
* Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)<https://step.state.gov/> to receive security updates.
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