Swedish activist stops deporting of Afghan asylum-seeker aboard plane


Demonstrators have stormed runways, picketed terminal entrances and blocked airport entrances to prevent deportations.

This week, one Swedish student tried a different approach.

Elin Ersson, a student at Gothenburg University, bought a plane ticket after discovering that the man would be sent home from her country. When Ersson became aware of the deportation, she chose to record a video from inside the aircraft. She also said someone pushed her in an effort to get her seated.

As she described how the man's bags were being removed from the flight, a round of applause broke out and Ersson started to cry.

When asked by a steward to stop recording and sit down, Ersson said: "I am doing what I can to save a person's life", and explained that as long as she is standing up, the plane cannot take off.

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With the far-right Sweden Democrats, who are opposed to immigration and asylum, now doing well in the polls, the government has felt it has be tough on those issues before September's elections. Some passengers, however, rose to Ersson's support, applauding her for her actions and also refusing to take a seat as a sign of solidarity. "I hope this goes viral and it plays a part in getting more people to stand up", wrote one Twitter user.

A flight attendant tells her several times to turn off her phone, because the airline's safety demonstration was underway.

A spokesperson for Swedavia, which owns and operates Sweden's airports, confirmed the flight was delayed for about two hours.

At the beginning of the video, flight attendants seemingly attempted to grab her mobile phone and interrupt the recording but the student was determined and walked away from her seat. "They don't know if they're going to live another day ..."

"This is all perfectly legal and I have not committed a crime", Errson insists. She films only her face, rarely showing the faces of those around her, out of privacy concerns. According to Swedish authorities, refusal to obey a pilot's orders may result in fines, or up to six months jail time.

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She made it clear that the man likely faced death if he was forced to return from Gothenburg to Afghanistan and she was going to ensure that did not happen. I don't like them.

"All I want to do is to stop the deportation and I will comply to the rules here..."

"It's not right to send people to hell", Ersson told the passenger.

Children can be heard crying, and passengers can be seen crowding the aisles as the 14-minute video progresses.

"I'm not filming you", Ersson protested.

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Eventually, Ersson says that she is able to see that the back door of the plane has been opened, but can't make out what is happening.

Reactions have been largely supportive of her action, although some people are accusing her of grandstanding.

Ersson told Swedish outlet DW she understood a young man had been taken from the facility where he was staying and deported with another person.

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

"We are with you, no problem", says a man with a Turkish accent, which causes Elin to tear up. "If only we all had the strength to act and fight for what we believe in".

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