Three Bulgarian citizens were arrested at the Deve Bair border crossing over the incident that broke out this morning. Border guards refused to allow the people identified as Bulgarian nationalists to enter Macedonia and proceed to the ceremony honoring Goce Delcev in Skopje – the guards claimed that the computer system is malfunctioning and that they can’t let people in. The “malfunction” was announced by Prime Minister Kovacevski, in a way, after he said that nationalists and provocateurs won’t be allowed to enter the country.
This prompted an angry reaction from members of the group. “You sold your name for 5 cents. You have to begin to respect the Bulgarian citizens. We are EU citizens. You have to act toward us with respect. Do you not understand Bulgarian? This is not normal what you are doing. We are not carrying bombs, we are not Afghans, let us through. We’ve been waiting here since 2 in the morning”, angry Bulgarian nationalists shouted at the police and the border guards.
Ultimately, the police officers declared that three Bulgarian citizens have assaulted them and had them detained. The border crossing reopened after several hours, once the ceremony in Skopje had finished.
Bulgarian nationalist leader Angel Dzhambazhki, who was personally threatened with a “persona non grata” designation did not attempt to cross the border. He marked Goce Delcev’s birthday in Blagoevgrad, where he condemned the tactic of the border guards. “They are stopping Bulgarian citizens, detaining them, harassing them. This is shameless”, he said, before repeating his positions that Macedonia is Bulgarian land and accusing the Government in Skopje of being anti-Bulgarian and harassing ethnic Bulgarians.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Ivan Demerdziev, who is in Skopje to ensure there are no incidents during Delcev’s honoring, cracked a joke on the account of the “technical issues” at the border, promising to give power generators to Macedonia to prevent such issues in the future. Demerdziev was accompanied by Bulgarians from Skopje who paid respects to Delcev. Demerdziev added that he spoke with Dzhambazhki and asked him not to come to Skopje.
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