Bulgarian PM calls emergency meeting of ministers over unrest at Harmanli refugee camp

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov called an emergency meeting on November 25 of key Cabinet ministers and security chiefs in response to the unrest at the Harmanli refugee camp that led to 400 arrests over clashes with police and vandalism.

Borissov, who is continuing in office as head of government pending the appointment of a caretaker administration following his resignation, postponed a scheduled visit to Hungary to convene the meeting.

Among those attending the operational staff meeting were Interior Minister Roumyana Buchvarova, her deputy Philip Gounev, Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, national police chief Todor Grebenarov, defence chief Lieutenant-General Konstantin Popov and heads of various departments.

The meeting was called to discuss a response in order to normalise the situation at the Harmanli refugee centre after the escalation of tensions on November 24.

In the clashes at the refugee centre, which was put under quarantine earlier this week and from which some of those accommodated there had tried to leave, 24 police were injured, Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said.

Borissov made a late-night visit to Harmanli, announcing that those who had been detained would be put in closed reception centres. Five would be deported because they were a threat to national security, he said.

The quarantine was imposed because of an outbreak of skin diseases at the centre. Residents of the town demanded the quarantine of the centre for fear the diseases could spread.

State Agency for Refugees chief Petya Purvanova, who went to the centre on November 24, described the damage at the centre as significant.

An Interior Ministry statement on November 25 described the situation at the Harmanli refugee centre as now “normalised and peaceful”.





The Sofia Globe staff

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