Published: Thu, July 26, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Swedish student's dramatic plane protest stops man's deportation 'to hell'

Swedish student's dramatic plane protest stops man's deportation 'to hell'

One 21-year-old Swedish student activist tried to stop the deportation of an Afghan man by protesting inside a plane which was about to take off.

"Pro tip: it is fully legal to refuse to sit down on a flight to avoid deportation", Elin Ersson wrote on Facebook on Monday.

When someone argued with her that she was "preventing passengers from [reaching] their destination", Ersson retorted: "Yeah, but they're not going to die".

This week, however, one deportation was disrupted when a university student from Sweden refused to let the plane take off. As long as a person is standing up the pilot can not take off.

Later in the video, Ersson said she witnessed the Afghan man's bags being cleared. The man is expected to be deported at a later date.

"This person is going to be deported to Afghanistan where there is war, and he is going to be killed".

The video has since received more than 2.4million views, and has been shared over 35,000 times.

"I am not going to sit down until this person is off the plane", Ersson says as her cheeks turn red, adding "people are trying to take my phone away".

"I have not committed a crime".

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When an angry passenger, who appears to be English, makes a second attempt to seize her phone, she tells him: "What is more important, a life, or your time?".

According to Deutsche Welle, Swedish authorities have said that refusing to carry out the orders of a pilot can carry penalties of fines and up to six months in jail.

In the almost 15-minute video, Ersson films herself walking the aisle of the airplane while other passengers shout at her to sit down so the plan can depart.

As people in the background - presumably the flight attendant - continued to tell Ersson to take her seat, she insisted that she would not comply unless the pilot removed the Afghan man from the plane. For 14-minutes, passengers and flight personnel could be heard urging Ersson to sit down and switch off her phone. The student's protest drew mixed reactions from the flight attendants and would-be travelers affected by her act of civil disobedience.

Swedish deportation policy now classifies Afghanistan as a safe country and sends rejected asylum seekers back.

"I'm trying to change my country's rules", she said, referring to Sweden's record of deporting Afghan migrants whose asylum claims have been denied.

After the Taliban rampaged through a hotel in Kabul in January, killing 22 people, and a bomb killed more than 100 people, Sweden briefly halted deportations to Afghanistan.

As the 52-year-old deportee was escorted off the plane, Ersson left on her own accord, Hans Uhrus, press officer for Swedavia Airports, told The Washington Post.

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