Migrants riot in largest Bulgaria refugee camp

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Sofia, Bulgaria—About 1,500 migrants started a riot in Bulgaria’s largest refugee camp on Thursday amid growing tensions in displaced persons reception centres across the Balkans, officials said.
The migrants set car tyres on fire and threw stones at some 250 police, firefighters and gendarmerie at the Harmanli reception centre, local police spokeswoman Nina Nikolova told AFP. She said the protest erupted over “a recently imposed ban on migrants leaving the premises of the centre”.
“The situation has been brought under control at the moment. Negotiations are under way between the protesting migrants and the state refugee agency,” Nikolova added.
Private bTV television footage showed officers in riot gear and with a water cannon facing a wall of migrants against a backdrop of thick black smoke at the camp’s entrance.
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.
Nonetheless some 13,000 migrants, mostly from Afghanistan, are currently trapped in the European Union’s poorest country.
Although the so-called Balkan migrant trail was effectively shut down in March, migrants have continued to cross the region in smaller numbers. Tensions have been rising particularly in Greece where tens of thousands of people remain stranded.—APP