Swedish Woman Stages ONE-WOMAN PROTEST Aboard Airplane To Save Refugee
Elin Ersson bought a ticket for the flight from Gothenberg to Istanbul after learning that a migrant from Afghanistan was due to be deported on it. She streamed her protest live on Facebook, where it’s been viewed millions of times.
A Swedish student staged a one-woman protest onboard a plane to prevent the deportation of an asylum-seeker to Afghanistan. Elin Ersson bought a ticket for the flight from Gothenberg to Istanbul after learning that a young Afghan was due to be deported on it.
Now, according to the Guardian, that young asylum-seeker was not on the plane. However, another Afghan man in his 50s was on board to be deported. Ersson refused to take her seat until the man had been removed from the plane.
You can hear in the video other passengers yell at her to sit down so that the plane can take off. But she refuses to give in. Ersson reiterates throughout the video that she believed the man would not be safe if he was sent back to Afghanistan, and that potentially saving his life was worth inconveniencing the passengers.
Eventually, the pilot decides that the asylum-seeker will be removed from the plane, and it’s an emotional moment as other passengers break into applause and Ersson herself begins to cry. Ersson said she was emboldened knowing that many other passengers were supporting her.
A football team at the back of the plane also stood up, and another man from Turkey stood up and said he was with her.
But despite the successful mission, the Swedish Prison and Probation Service says that, once arrangements are made, the man on the plane, and the young Afghan that Ersson thought would be there, would still be deported.
However, Ersson believes her protest can help inspire other people to push for Swedish immigration laws to be changed. She told the Guardian: “People there are not sure of any safety. They don’t know if they’re going to live another day. As I’ve been working and meeting people from Afghanistan and heard their stories, I’ve been more and more in the belief that no one should be deported to Afghanistan because it’s not a safe place. The way that we are treating refugees right now, I think that we can do better, especially in a rich country like Sweden.”
Handling increased migration has been a controversial subject throughout much of Europe in recent years, as millions are fleeing areas in Africa and the Middle East due to violence and harsh economic conditions. As a result, migrant communities have faced backlash, and far-right politicians and laws have made gains throughout Europe, including in Sweden.
In fact, the anti-immigration far-right Sweden Democrats hope to make big gains in the September elections. Now, they may be called Sweden Democrats, but the party has roots in Scandinavia’s neo-nazi movement, though they’ve obviously tried to distance themselves from that.
Ersson hopes her activism can stem that tide toward nationalism. She says: “I hope that people start questioning how their country treats refugees. We need to start seeing the people whose lives our immigration policies are destroying.”
Ersson still might face legal consequences, as passengers on a plane are required by law to follow a pilot’s orders. However, it seems unlikely since the situation was resolved in under 30 minutes, and she’s received widespread praise for her actions.
British Parliament member Caroline Lucas called her “a true hero” and said “If ever you think one person can’t make a difference, than watch this!” Dean Harris wrote: “Elin Ersson Is an example of the power that we all have. The British man who tried to steal her phone is an example of the boot licking shit heads that people like her have to suffer day to day. So much love for this woman and the bravery she displayed.”
-Would you have stood with Elin Ersson? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.