Asylum protestors stop debate

A debate about asylum policy in the Riksdag, Sweden’s parliament, had to be broken off on Wednesday morning after a protest broke out in the public gallery.

The demonstration started when Barbro Holmberg, Sweden’s migration minister, was about to start speaking. She was interrupted by a group in the public gallery who started singing a protest song to the tune of the national anthem. The text criticised the government’s asylum policies. Holmberg was criticised for using “the same old racist words.”

The demonstrators also threw leaflets into the chamber.

The public gallery was cleared after the outburst. Holmberg resumed her speech twenty minutes later, but no members of the public were allowed to watch.

“What we have just seen is evidence of the incredibly strong feelings awakened by refugee policy,” she said, and called for a rational debate.

The Riksdag is to vote on whether to introduce a new asylum process, in which the Alien Appeals Board will be abolished, and people who have their asylum applications turned down will appeal to designated district administrative courts.

The parliament will also consider proposals for a refugee amnesty, under which asylum seekers already in Sweden will be allowed to stay.

TT/The Local

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