A young Swedish woman has managed to prevent a forced deportation by the Swedish immigration forces of a 52-year-old man to Afghanistan.
Elin Ersson bought a ticket for the Gothenburg to Istanbul flight after she and other activists found out that a man, a refugee from Afghanistan, is due to be deported on it. Once in the plane, she stood up in the aisle, started a live broadcast on her phone, and refused to sit until the pilot orders the man off the plane. According to the transport rules, the plane can’t take off until everyone is seated.
“Right now I’m at the airport in the airplane and there is a person getting deported to Afghanistan and the people working here are trying to take my phone away from me and try to forcibly move me,” Elin says in the video, “In Afghanistan there is war and this man faces death” , she continues, “I’m just trying to save his life. (…) All I want to do is to stop his deportation. As long as I stand and if hopefully more people get up, the pilot can not take off.” Later she adds that she is not doing anything illegal and that she will stay in the aisle until the man is taken off board. The airport authorities refused to use force to eject Ersson.
During the stand-off, Ersson is confronted by several passengers and a cabin crew member, all apparently more annoyed with delayed flight than the deportation taking place in front of their eyes. Among them, a man with British accent tells her that she upsets people before briefly taking her phone off her. Another man yells “shut up” at her. Another person tells her that “These are the rules of your country,” to which Elin firmly responds: “Yes, and I try to change those rules. It’s not okay to send people to hell.”
For the duration of the video, Elin keeps repeating that all she is trying to do is to save the man’s life, and encourages other passengers to join her. At some point, a Turkish man joins her in the aisle, followed by a football team sitting at the back of the plane and other passengers.
Eventually, the deportation victim was taken off the plane together with three security personnel guarding him. Erin was escorted to one of the exits where she was met by the airport security. Later Ersson reported that the man’s deportation was canceled. However, she does not know what will happen to him next.
Watch the full video:
Image: still from Elin’s video