Bulgarian Interior Minister: Situation at Harmanli refugee camp ‘normalised’

The situation at Bulgaria’s Harmanli refugee camp has normalised, while 110 people at the camp who had taken part in riots on November 24 had been detained, Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova told the National Assembly on November 25.

Buchvarova made a statement to Parliament on the situation at Harmanli, a refugee centre housing about 3000 people about 250km from Sofia, at the request of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party.

Unrest broke out at the camp on November 24 following some attempts by those accommodated there to leave it in spite of the camp being under quarantine, the official reason being the outbreak of skin diseases.

Buchvarova told the National Assembly that as of 6am on November 25, the situation at the camp had normalised and 110 migrants had been detained at the police station in the town.

She told MPs that the previous day, 24 law enforcement officers had been slightly injured and had been given emergency medical assistance.

Further detentions of those residents who had taken part in the riots were expected.

Of 240 arrested, 15 were suspected as perpetrators of hooliganism, disobeying the police and destroying and damaging public property.

Buchvarova said that the Interior Ministry was constantly in touch with the Prosecutor’s Office, which had initiated pre-trial proceedings in connection with hooliganism and destruction of state property.

Earlier on November 25, an Interior Ministry statement said that nearly 400 foreign nationals had been arrested for acts of vandalism at the Harmanli refugee reception centre. A further 15 had been arrested for damaging property at the camp, the ministry statement said.

The ministry said that in the course of restoring order at the camp, police had used water cannon and rubber bullets.

Evidence was being collected regarding the incident and witnesses were being questioned, the Interior Ministry said.

Video posted online from the scene at Harmanli on November 24 showed participants in the clashes hurling stones at police.





The Sofia Globe staff

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