[ 23. Jan 2011 ]

Massive protests against Sweden's expulsions of people to Iraq

Blocked @ repository of Märsta, Stockholm the night of Janunary 19, 2011.

22 people were deported to Iraq from the swedish airport Arlanda on Wednesday 19 January 2011. They had been held in Sagåsens's refugee repository in Gothenburg and the refugee repository in Märsta outside Stockholm.


Deportations took place despite opposition from grassroots, human rights organizations and opposition parties. Of the 36 percent belongs to religious and ethnic minorities and 91 percent come from areas in Iraq including such areas which the UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, advises not sending people to.

Deportation occurred despite protests from those concerned and others. The popular resistance continued after the deportation. The protests are directed against the Swedish government's asylum policy, a racist world order and against continued deportations into war and oppression. There is a proggressive struggle going on for the right to asylum.

Amnesty and other human rights organizations like the Red Cross, FARR, refugee groups and asylum Committees Privy Council and the Christian Council of Sweden, and the red-green opposition has criticized the expulsions, and highlights that Sweden along with Norway, Denmark and :: England are the only countries which by force deports people to Iraq.

An interruption of deportation was made in November following a request from the European Court of Human Rights. But since the court decided that it is an individual assessments that is to be required the deportations resumed in mid-December. Amnesty International turned to the Swedish Minister for Migration and Immigration Service director general, with a call to halt all forced deportations to Iraq. Instead, the people concerned should be granted asylum or other protection in Sweden.

As particularly dangerous areas Amnesty mentions Ninewa (Mosul), Kirkuk, Diyala, Salah al-Din and Baghdad, and areas such as parts of the Al Anbar Province.

According to a report in Swedish public service radio and due people who have been returned by force, most of those deported to Iraq' live hidden in the country or on the run.

Both in Gothenburg and Stockholm direct opposition was made at the repositories against the deportations. On Monday 10 January six people barricaded themselves in a common room on the Immigration Services detention center Sagåsen in Gothenburg.

With the help of a radiator they smashed the security window and ran away. One person was caught by the police but the other five are free. Four of them are from Iraq. The other two are from Afghanistan and Tunisia. Two days later a hunger strike was initiated by 15 of the inmates in protest against the planned deportation.

Among the hunger strikers were people from Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Tunisia, Somalia and Russia.

In three days, from Saturday 15 to Tuesday morning, January 18, people blocked Sagåsen in protest. Asylum Movement, namely the Action against deportation, No one is illegal and others, were present day and night to support the imprisoned people and to fight the expulsion.

The organization was effective and non-violent and reinforcements could quickly be called in if the police would decide to take action. Blocked was also the repository of Märsta, Stockholm the night of Janunary 19.

Saturday 15 January at eight were some fifty people to support the strikers at Sagåsen. The police planned to relocate people to Arlanda aiport by force, but was stopped by the popular resistance.

The civil disobediance action, the blockade, was formed by a car that was standing in the way of the prison car and that the activists formed human chains. (See linked video)

On Monday morning, January 17, The police came back with a tow truck to lift the cars that blocked the road to the repository. But the operation was suspended, a victory for those who protested in and near the repository.

On Monday evening of 18 January, the the protesting people got to know that the police would probably try to carry the locked up refugees away during the following night. Messages on mobilizing quickly reached out and over 100 people arrived.

The activists gathered in assemblies every time a new group arrived. They arranged small meetings about what had happened, discussing tactics and rules.

Full democracy of conduct were advised. All agreed that the blockade would remain intact. They practiced setting up for a quick form up if the police were to arrive. They communicated with the people in the repository through handwritten notes and by phone.

When the police showed up they were met by a massive nonviolent resistance such as blocking cars and human chains.

Here's a report from the website, Gothenburg.

2:15 The police are on the move, aiming to break the blockade set up to protect the Iraqi asylum seekers from being deported before they could get answers to their applications to the European Court of Human Rights.
Dialogue Police arrived along with a police officer who threatens to arrest the activists.

4:00 Activists have linked arms together and are chanting. No violence has occurred on their part, this is an active civil disobedience action.
The police are lagging the activists into police buses.
Witnesses tell of beatings - three policemen hold an activist while the fourth beats him in in the face before throwing him into the bus. This is made outside the dialogue police's line of sight.

5:15 The Police is still dragging away defenders.
Salvage Cars has now shipped out the activists blockade cars.
Transportation service have not yet come to carry away the Iraqis. We're talking to them regularly.

5:55 Some activists are still out in the snow.

6:25 It's crowded at the police detention center at Aminogatan in Mölndal, therefore activists have to wait outside in the cars - it may take several hours until everyone has been heard about the criminal act of disobedience against the police. Some are arrested and others are taken into police custody - they will be released as soon as they have become heard. What will happen to the detainees, we can not say because we do not know what they have been arrested for.

7:10 The Iraqis have not yet been transported to the repository in Flen.
They are three of the 22 Iraqis whom we are aware of will be deported tomorrow.
Of these, 91% are from the danger zones that UNHCR advises to not by force reject people to and 36% are Christians.

After breaking up the blockade, the police gathered the Iraqis that were to be deported.

Monday 18 January the European Court rejected the appeals of all Iraqis who on Wednesday were expelled to Iraq from Sweden. This requires individual examination of their asylum claim, something activists worked on until the deportation was carried out anyway.

When the human chain had been broken by the police, three of the detained persons were driven to the repository in Flen. Then they were transported to the airport where they together with those who had been locked in Märsta were deported to Baghdad. In Märsta some 50 people protested outside the Immigration Service detention centre against the planned deportation on the night of January 19.

Here's a report from, Stockholm

3:45 One hundred activists block the entry and exit to the repository. People stand in the way and have driven up cars.
12-13 of the 22 Iraqis who will be deported are in the repository in Märsta and will be taken to the airport, the other is currently transported from the repository in Flen and from detention in Nyköping.

4:35 The police have attacked the blockade at the Immigration Service detained in Märsta.
The police break the blockade by force and beat activists with batons.

All activists who wont voluntarily move gets dragged away. All are accused of disobedience against the police and two for violence against police.

5:15 Three buses run by quickly. Police say they have taken all the Iraqis out of the repository and ask people to go home.

There are two routes to Märsta custody, so the activists are divided on both sides and those that are not arrested do not want to go home.

The police tell them to back off and when they do not go away, they are beaten and pepper sprayed. Yet another person is arrested.

5:45 All Iraqis are now driven to the airport. The action is dissolved and all the activists have been released except for one.
Later in the day, we get to know the acctual number of deported Iraqis.

The Iraqi Asylum Committee and no one is illegal has worked to develop the asylum seekers' individual reasons and emphasize them in the applications for the European Court of Human Rights precisely because the Court's judgments are individual .

Involved in the protests in Stockholm are amongst others the Iraqi Asylum Committee; No one is illegal Stockholm, Young leftists Stockholm, Socialist Justice Party Stockholm, Action Against Deportation Stockholm.

All Iraqis who were expelled have searched inhibition of the European Court.
The Swedish Government and the Immigration Service are under incredible pressure.

Across the country the asylum movement is growing. Action Groups are formed and more and more people are questioning the forced deportations to Iraq.

Demonstrations took place the same day, January 19 in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö with the message that the fight for the right to asylum and against a racist world order continues.

In Gothenburg, 600 people gathered and marched up to the largest government party the Moderate party offices to show their disgust with their inhumane asylum and migration policy.

Since 2008, over 800 Iraqis have been deported against their will. Every three weeks a Frontexairplane takes off from London or Landvetter with 20 to 30 people. More than 2500 Iraqis in Sweden are living under threat of deportation.

Link collection

No one is illegal:

Motkraft (autonomous webnews):

Film from the blockade of the refugee reposit of Sagåsen, Göteborg, Sweden:

Mainstream press:

SVT debate:

Swedish public radio P1 about the forced deportations to Iraq:;grupp=9035&artikel=4280491

Swedish public television:;lid=aldreNyheter_1851662&lpos=rubrik_2296495;lpos=lasMer

Swedish public radio:;artikel=4293391;artikel=4294301;artikel=4297077;artikel=4297208;artikel=4297559;artikel=4300313;artikel=4305547;grupp=10974&artikel=4300923

Fria tidningen (Free press):

GP (The Gothenburg post):;playfile=12270_Khalad_Hur_manga_timmar_far_jag_leva_132624.pls&autostart=1

DN (Daily newspaper):

SvD (Daily newspaper):


Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (The socialist justiceparty):

Article published first on 22. Jan 2011 @ ::