At the suggestion of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova has ordered the awarding of cash prizes to 294 police who were deployed to deal with unrest at the country’s Harmanli refugee centre on November 24.
The awards are being given for the “timely and professional intervention” of the police, an Interior Ministry statement on November 30 said.
The police had timeously acted to restore and preserve public order at the Harmanli camp and the award was for professionalism in the performance of their duties, the statement said.
Thanks to their action, the protest, in which close to 2000 foreign citizens were involved and which saw the lighting of fires, destruction and damage to public property, and throwing of stones and other objects at police, had not expanded, the Interior Ministry said.
The escalation of tension among residents of the town of Harmanli had been prevented, according to the statement.
Soon after the Harmanli incident, which saw hundreds of arrests and the subsequent prosecution of 19 people from Afghanistan, most on charges of hooliganism, there were allegations on social networks and questions in the media about alleged police misconduct.
At the time, prosecutors said that they were investigating the conduct of the police. This led to complaints from a police union. No pre-trial proceedings or prosecutions have been instituted.
For a timeline of events around the Harmanli refugee camp, please click here.