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Stranded berry pickers gather in Stockholm

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Stranded berry pickers gather in Stockholm
09:30 CEST+02:00
Stranded berry pickers are still pouring into the Bulgarian embassy in Stockholm, as another hundred seeking assistance arrived on Friday.

At least 70 more pickers are still left in the affected municipalities, and are asking for help to get home.

The migrants have been living in makeshift camps in the forests of central Sweden, amid simmering tensions with local residents, after being lured there by suspected human-traffickers with promises of seasonal work.

Bulgaria recently promised to foot the bill to get the migrant workers home by bus, and since then berry pickers have been trying to make their way to the embassy in Stockholm.

“We have a deal with Stockholm, and as soon as we get the go-ahead we'll be sending the berry pickers, who want to go home, to Stockholm,” Yvette Andersson, head of Tierp municipality, said to the TT news agency.

Tierp received that green flag on Friday morning, and 34 berry pickers were subsequently bussed down to the Bulgarian embassy. During the afternoon, however, another 70 pickers have showed up.

“How they've landed here and where they came from I couldn't quite say. They've come on foot, by train or bus, and have been dropped off by the embassy,” said Brita Mohlin, deputy head of security in Stockholm municipality, to TT.

The Bulgarian berry pickers are now temporarily being housed in the school Gärdesskolan. Busses to drive them home are on their way from Bulgaria, and are expected to arrive sometime this weekend.

“We suspect that even more people in need of aid will show up soon, and so we've got another housing arrangement prepared to open if necessary,” said Mohlin.

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