About 300 migrants have been arrested following a riot in Bulgaria's largest refugee camp, as Greece calls on European Union member states to speed relocation efforts after a tragic accident killed two migrants in an overcrowded Lesbos camp.
No reports of arrests or injuries have been made, although Bulgaria's interior ministry spokeswoman told Reuters the situation had been brought under control by law enforcement officers who used water cannons to disperse the crowd. Three migrants sought medical help after the riot, it added.
The forced quarantine measures followed complaints from locals who said they feared a possible outbreak of epidemics from the camp to the local population.
Outoing Prime Minister Boyko Borissov arrived at the scene late on Thursday and said Bulgaria would start deporting the Afghan migrants in December.
Mr Borisov urged residents of Harmanli to stay calm and to avoid provoking the asylum seekers.
"This camp should be closed. They go around in big groups and take fruit and vegetables at the market without paying", said one resident, Rusi Stoev. You should see what it's like here at weekends.
The Harmanli centre, which houses just over 3,000 refugees, imposed a ban on the refugees' movement earlier this week after local media alleged that it was home to communicable skin diseases. They said the reports had been exaggerated and that there was no public health risk.
The migrants set auto tyres on fire and threw stones at some 250 police, firefighters and gendarmerie at the Harmanli reception centre close to the Turkish border, local police spokeswoman Nina Nikolova told AFP.
Despite a wire fence that Bulgaria has erected on its border with Turkey in an attempt to prevent illegal crossing, migrants continue to enter the Balkan country of 7.2 million. Some 17,000 people were detained in the first 10 months of the year, down by more than a third from the same period in 2015.
Despite the decreasing numbers, Bulgarian nationalists staged several protests in recent months calling for the immediate closure of all refugee centres in Bulgaria, and for migrants to be returned to Turkey or their countries of origin.