70 protesters against Iraqi expulsions arrested

Police have arrested about 70 demonstrators who gathered outside the Swedish National Migration Board's (Migrationsverket) offices south of Gothenburg to prevent a group of Iraqis from being deported on Wednesday.

The expulsion is scheduled for Wednesday and protesters want to prevent the Iraqis moving to Stockholm from being flown out.

Early on Tuesday morning, police had managed to remove most of the 70 protesters from outsides the offices in Kållered, 12 kilometres south of Gothenburg, according to officer in command at Västra Götaland police Kent Ole Nielsen.

He stated that everything proceeded smoothly and that the rest of the protesters would be arrested.

“There has been no fuss. They are not troublemakers. They have indicated what they think and we have talked about what applies,” said Nielsen.

Police also removed the cars that were parked to block the Swedish Prison and Probation Service’s (Kriminalvården) transport.

According to a woman who was at the camp overnight, three Iraqis were taken away from the centre as police arrested the last demonstrators.

She added that everything went smoothly when the police put the sitting demonstrators into police cars and drove them away. All those arrested are under suspicion of police disobedience.

On Monday, Amnesty International criticised Sweden for the expulsion of Iraqi migrants and wrote that their lives may be in danger. The human rights organisation said that it has credible evidence that a group scheduled to be expelled in January included at least 14 people from particularly dangerous provinces.

They belong to vulnerable ethnic and religious groups and are at risk of persecution on the grounds of their gender or political views.

Previously, the Council of Europe and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees have expressed concern about the expulsions. The Iraqis have appealed their expulsion to the European Court of Human Rights, but have not yet received a response.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have fled the war in their country to resettle in Sweden, with official statistics showing 117,900 people born in Iraq lived in the country in 2009, up from 49,400 in 2000.

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