Three people – a police officer and two Moroccans – suffered smoke inhalation at Bulgaria’s Bousmantsi detention centre for foreigners after one of the Moroccans set fire to his mattress in protest at slow processing of his refugee status application documents, according to a report by television station bTV on March 19 2012.
The situation was quickly contained but tensions at the detention centre had escalated, bTV said.
The report said that unrest at the detention centre was not uncommon. People most often protested because of poor conditions and delays in processing their documents.
The Bousmantsi detention centre for foreigners was opened in 2006.
As reported by The Sofia Echo in February 2010, Bousmantsi is supposed to accommodate foreign nationals who have been denied refugee status in Bulgaria and who are waiting to be deported back to their home country, or another destination.
By then, four years after it opened, the centre was being used by authorities as a place to send all foreigners with ID problems regardless of their legal status. These include not just refugees and asylum seekers, but also people who have been living in the country for years, who have married Bulgarian nationals, have children and who have developed their businesses in the country.