Over 40 migrants detained at Bulgaria's Harmanli camp after riot

Over 40 migrants detained at Bulgaria's Harmanli camp after riot

More than 400 migrants were arrested as police quelled the protest with rubber bullets and water cannons.

Last week Harmanli townspeople staged a protest calling for the camp's closure after local media alleged that migrants there carried communicable skin diseases.

According to the Reuters news agency, the refugees began throwing stones at police, who then deployed water cannon to disperse them.

Borisov says two dozen police officers and two refugees were injured.

Bulgaria meanwhile boosted the police presence in all refugee centres across the country.

Reflecting the gravity of the situation, and the political impact of the migrant crisis, Prime Minister Boiko Borisov was on his way to the camp late on Thursday, a spokeswoman said. The crowd briefly broke through a barrier at the camp but were quickly pushed back. He said that 200 of the rioting migrants were detained and placed in custody. "Negotiations between the authorities and the protesters are underway".

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The centre, which houses well over 3,000 migrants, was the scene of another protest in October when several hundred Afghans demanded they be allowed to continue their journey towards western Europe.

Although the so-called Balkan migrant trail was effectively shut down in March, migrants have continued to cross the Balkans in smaller numbers.

According to official statistics, some 13,000 migrants, majority from Afghanistan, are now in Bulgaria.

A 66-year-old woman and a 6-year-old were killed, police said, while a 25-year-old woman and a 4-year-old were seriously injured and sent to Athens for medical treatment.

Anti-migrant sentiment has surged across Bulgaria over the past few years, as a vast influx of more than a million people - braving deadly sea journeys and crossing thousands of miles of terrain - sought refuge in Europe.

Five migrants will be immediately deported, while the others participants in the riot will be moved to a closed-type centre, facing deportation in December, prime minister Boyko Borissov told local media on Friday morning, when he visited the refugee camp. "For the time being we are talking about containing the escalation", he said adding that 14 police officers had been wounded.

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