This College Student Held up a Flight To Stop a Deportation in Sweden


This College Student Held up a Flight To Stop a Deportation in Sweden

Elin Ersson boarded an airplane in Gothenburg, Sweden, in July 2018, and refused to sit down, to prevent the aircraft from taking off, as reported by The New York Times.

Her only protest earned the ire of her fellow passengers, that clamored for her to sit down. However, she was there on a moral mission.

Ersson, a student activist, aimed to halt the deportation of an Afghan man by preventing the airplane he was on from taking off. The person she initially intended to help was not on the flight, but another Afghan asylum seeker was on the aircraft ready to be deported. As her objective was larger than one person, the focus of her protest changed.

“I’m not going to sit down until this person is off the plane,” she said in a live-stream of the situation, “because he is most likely to get killed if he is on this plane when it goes up.”

In the footage, Ersson spoke about the dangerous conditions the man would return to in Kabul while mentioning the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the various attacks which have occurred in Kabul over the recent year.

During the video, Ersson can be seen crying, while arguing with fellow passengers, and ultimately rejoicing when the Afghan deportee is removed from the flight which was in route to Istanbul, according to the Times.

“I am doing what I can to save a person’s life,” she tells a fellow passenger at one point. “As long as a person is standing up, the pilot cannot take off. All I want to do is stop the deportation, and then I will comply with the rules here. This is all perfectly legal, and I have not committed a crime.”

The video has since racked up over 2.7 million online views, and Ersson is being regarded as a human rights champion for her effort.

There are over 2.5 million Afghan refugees all around the world, the majority of which escaped their home country after the outbreak of the US-led invasion in 2001.

The ongoing intense national security crisis around the country, especially in Kabul, means that the whole country is producing a steady stream of refugees every month.

While Sweden is relatively difficult to reach for migrants and asylum seekers, approximately 42,000 Afghans applied for asylum in Sweden in 2015, according to the Swedish Migration Agency, and another 4,700 applied over the next two years.

Critics of Ersson claimed that she interfered with the law and was a nuisance for fellow passengers, reported BuzzFeed. Swedish authorities that spoke with the Times said she didn't commit a crime, but by delaying the flight for over two hours, she could be sued by Turkish Airlines.

Either way, her protest has demonstrated that people can obstruct unjust deportation systems.

The Afghan refugee that was spared deportation will still likely be removed from the country, according to CNN. However, Ersson has provoked a reckoning with what several citizens are calling overzealous immigration enforcement.

Reference: Global Citizen



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Thinking Humanity: This College Student Held up a Flight To Stop a Deportation in Sweden
This College Student Held up a Flight To Stop a Deportation in Sweden
Elin Ersson boarded an airplane in Gothenburg, Sweden, in July 2018, and refused to sit down, to prevent the aircraft from taking off, as reported by The New York Times.
Thinking Humanity
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