(VOVworld) – Hundreds of Afghan migrants staged a protest inside Bulgaria's largest refugee camp on Monday, demanding permission to continue their journey to Western Europe.
|Afghan refugee children sit at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) repatriation center in Nowshera, northwest Pakistan. (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)
The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights reported that some 300 people demonstrated at the Harmanli reception center near the Turkish border. The Committee’s spokeswoman Iliana Savova told reporters that they were protesting the fact that they were being held in Bulgaria against their will and wanted to continue to Serbia and from there to Western Europe. The Bulgarian Interior Ministry confirmed there were "tensions" inside the Harmanli reception center, which is home to 3,800 refugees. Officials said negotiations with the Afghan refugees are ongoing.
Last year alone, over a million refugees made their way into Europe to flee conflicts and poverty in their home countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Most of them entered Greece via Turkey, which also shares a border with Bulgaria. 70% of 13,000 migrants stranded in Bulgaria are Afghans.