Since the private TV station bTV reported about people who are patroling with All-terrain vehicles through the border region of Bulgaria and calling their leader a national hero, more groups popped up in public which claim for arresting the migrants who crossed to Turkish-Bulgarian border. Although, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee called for prosecution of the case. The prime minister, Boyko Borissov, thanked in a statement these patrols:

I personally talked with them [the voluntary patrols] and thank them. I send the director of the Border Police to meet and coordinate with them.

And last week, the chief of the border police, Antonio Angelov, even honored a nationalist vigilante group for detaining 23 migrants, who crossed from Turkey to Bulgaria. On Facebook, another video of a group called „Civil unit for protection of the women and the faith“ appeared which shows a group of migrants with bounded hands, laying on the ground. The viewer is seeing a man armed with a machete and an offstage voice is shouting:

No Bulgaria – go back [to] Turkey.

The group claimed that they had returned the migrants to Turkey. But the group goes even one step further and threatens the prime minister with lynching, as in another video (at minute 4:01) its leader stated in another video:

I think he [Boyko Borissov] is a traitor. And for every traitor there is a rope waiting.

The interior Rumyana Bacharova gave a statement and welcomed the help of civil groups, but mentioned that they have to call the border police. In October 2015, it became already clear that the Bulgarian state is cooperating with hunters to catch the migrants that cross at the border. Meanwhile authorities are launching proceedings and check if the voluntary patrols are maybe violating Bulgaria’s Criminal Code.

Border Monitoring Bulgaria (BMB) is condemning the cooperation of the Bulgarian State with racist and nationalist groups and calls for an immediately stopping of this unman and brutal treating of migrants.

First published in: Bordermonitoring Bulgaria