Majority of Bulgarians See Refugees as National Security Threat - Poll
A large majority of Bulgarians, 83%, are alarmed by the increasing influx of refugees in the country as they see them as threat for national security, according to a recent poll.
The poll has been conducted by the Alfa Research Agency between September 19 and 25 among all social and demographic groups in Bulgaria.
38% say the threat is of the highest level; 45% see it as moderate risk. Only 17% of the respondents are not seriously worried about the refugees and 2% are not worried at all.
"The increasing refugee wave and the more and more frequent debates about Bulgaria's options in dealing with it strengthen social sensitivity. Bulgarian society shows some understanding about the difficulties of the refugees, but is very polarized, particularly on the issue of Bulgaria continuing to accept them," Alfa Research experts say, adding the controversial reaction stems not only from security fears, but the fact that these people, their problems, and needs are not yet well-known to Bulgarians.
40% of Bulgarians do accept that the refugees, (who are coming mainly from Syria), are fleeing war and violence. The fears relate to their protests while in Bulgarian refugee shelters (39%) and them being more tolerated by the State than the local population (37%).
39% also reject the statement "refugees have the right to protest against bad conditions in shelters," 23% support it, while 38% have no opinion.
"In what direction public attitudes towards refugees will develop depends on the response and the measures of Bulgarian State institutions. If their actions remain inconclusive, and the information they provide insufficient, the public will continue to show concerns and polarized approaches," commented the pollsters.
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