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Migrants abandon camp to avoid eviction

The Local/sr · 26 Jun 2014, 11:19

Published: 26 Jun 2014 11:19 GMT+02:00

The Bulgarian immigrants have been living in a make-shift camp in a train station car park near Gothenburg.

On Thursday morning the camp was deserted. At 7am only two men remained, and they disappeared shortly after.

The car park then stood empty, desolately freckled with remains from fire pits and clothes lines used the night before. Clusters of tents and cars had vanished.

The Gothenburg section of the Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogden) planned to evict everyone from the camp later on Thursday morning, as setting up a camp on municipal land is illegal, regardless of whether the campers are Swedes or immigrants.

Personnel from the social services visited the camp several times in the days leading up to the eviction, and the campers left rather than waiting for it to happen.

"Several said yes to the offer of a paid trip home," Ulrika Falk from the Räddningsmissionen (Rescue Mission) told news agency TT. "Others have gone north, and some have just chosen other spots."

Sweden's largest cities, particularly Stockholm, already face housing crises and often struggle to find homes for refugees and immigrants. Stockholm city recently opened a 'beggar hotline' to answer questions about the city's homeless population - and so far the majority of callers have wondered what the city is doing about beggars' living situations. 

"Those who call are usually worried and wonder how the city is thinking, and what the city can do," social services officer Fredrik Jurdell told TT.  

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The Stockholm social services visit each beggar camp they are alerted to - though what they can do from there is questionable.

"It's still illegal to camp on city ground," Joakim Trolle, co-founder of non-profit organization BonzaiBeat, told The Local at an earlier date. "We drive over their camps with a bloody bulldozer. We can't say that we want to help these people and then not actually come up with any helpful solutions."

The Local/sr (news@thelocal.se)

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