Saturday, September 19, 2015
Refugee Protests On Sweden-Finland Border
Via The Local: Hundreds of Finnish protestors demonstrated on Saturday morning at the Swedish-Finnish border in northern Sweden against an influx of refugees, while on the Swedish side of the border many Swedes were demonstrating their support for the refugees. “There are an estimated 600 protestors on the Finnish side of the border in Tornio, linking arms at the border”, says Fredrik Linder, duty officer at the police in Norrbotten told Swedish newspaper, Expressen. “The Finns have signs such as ‘Go home Isis’ ", photographer Bob Olovsson told Expressen. The police tried to keep order on the border between Sweden and Finland, which is situated at the top of the Bothnian Gulf where the towns of Haparanda (Sweden) and Tornio (Finland) sit side-by-side. Linder told Expressen, “There are a few on the Swedish side, and roughly 600 on the Finnish side. But it is a passive demonstration at present to not to let refugees cross the border”. According to Olovsson, “There are lots of Finnish flags, Finnish hockey shirts and signs with messages in English such as ’Go home Isis’ and similar things”. "That's enough now, close the borders", was written on one of the banners. Peter Waara, the Social Democrat mayor of Haparanda, said, “There were right-wing extremists gathered at the bus station in Haparanda. When I left, the place was quiet, but police were still there”. According to the police, the demonstrations have been conducted without violence - at 1pm, the police presence was removed as most of the demonstrators had left. Finnish Broadcasting Corporation (YLE) has estimated that around 1.000 refugees a week are crossing into Finland at the border at Haparanda. The Finnish government said on Friday that more than 11.000 asylum seekers, mostly from Iraq, have come to Finland so far this year, compared to 3.600 in the whole of 2014. Last week, Finland agreed to accept its two percent share of the 120.000 asylum seekers to be relocated across European Union states, but said it remained opposed to a mandatory quotas.