A speech by Vice President Dan Quayle turned into an anti-communist rally Friday, with more than 20,000 Bulgarians waving American flags, shouting "U.S.A." and chanting "We don't want communism." "America is with you," Quayle, the highest-ranking U.S. official ever to visit Sofia, told the crowd that crammed Alexander Nevsky Square despite pouring rain.
"The rain will not stop the celebration of freedom," Quayle declared, declining the use of an umbrella.
The rally in Sofia was the biggest mass event organized during Quayle's tour of Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria.
"America never forgot Bulgaria during the long dark years of totalitarianism after World War II," Quayle said.
The crowd responded with shouts of: "Down with communism," "Red rubbish" and "Communists are mafia."
President Zhelyu Zhelev said in reply: "The communists failed over the decades of their rule to implant hatred against the land of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln."