Were asylum seekers banned from entering a Swedish pub?

Were asylum seekers banned from entering a Swedish pub?
File photo of beers in a Swedish bar. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT
A pub in Kalmar has been accused of denying entry to drinkers with a "foreign appearance".

The Krögers pub and restaurant has grabbed headlines after a Swedish drinker claimed on Twitter over the weekend that a discriminatory door policy was in place.

Marcus Lesseur, 24, wrote that staff had been turning away customers with Syrian passports.

His friend Johanna Andersson, also 24, told Swedish tabloid Expressen that she had watched a number of people being turned away while she was outside the bar smoking during the evening.

“It was so obvious that it was about xenophobia. People with a non-Swedish background were not allowed to come in,” she said.

“The manager was stood hanging out by the door and I asked him about the policy. He said he was willing to let tourists in from Holland or the like, but not people with a Syrian passport.”

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But in an interview with regional newspaper Barometern on Sunday, the manager, Tellis Agrotis, insisted that the door policy was not racist. He said that foreign passports were accepted, but not some other identification documents such as paperwork or ID cards from Migrationsverket (Sweden's Migration Agency).

“We let in precisely everyone who wants to come in to us, but only if they have a valid ID. That we would only admit guests with a Swedish passport is not true at all. You can have an English, Dutch, Iraqi, yes whichever passport you want if it is valid,” he said.

“However we do not accept Migrationsverket's identification and it is very clear on the card that it is not a valid ID. Nor do we accept anyone with no documents because we don't know who they are. We have discussed this with police and there is nothing strange about this,” he said, adding that he did not want to risk losing his licence.

“I am sorry about this, but we will not let guests in wearing gym clothes either.” 

The Local has been unable to reach Agrotis for further comment.

Debates about integration in Sweden have intensified in recent months after the country took in a record 163,000 asylum seekers in 2015.

This year, around 100,000 more new arrivals are expected in the Nordic nation, despite the recent introduction of border checks and moves to limit the number of permanent residency places granted in Sweden.