Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Swedish student's plane protest stops Afghan asylum seeker's deportation

A student activist who refused to take her seat on a plane stopped the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker.

Elin Ersson booked herself a seat on a flight from Gothenburg to Turkey after hearing that a failed asylum seeker was being deported from Sweden on the flight.

The University of Gothenburg student live-streamed her protest on Facebook, saying she had been forced to take action because the 52-year-old man would "likely be killed" if he was sent to Afghanistan.

Ms Ersson explained that "all I am doing is standing up, this is perfectly legal".

Planes cannot take off if a passenger is standing up, meaning she was halting the man's deportation.

Ms Ersson explained that what she was doing was "perfectly legal." Credit: Facebook/Elin Ersson

Cabin crew members on board the flight repeatedly asked Ms Ersson to take her seat, but she refused.

Other passengers became angry at Ms Ersson, but she responds saying: "I am very sorry that a man is going to die and you are more worried about missing your flights."

Another passenger tries to snatch her phone from her hands, telling Ms Ersson that she is "scaring the children" on board, but she confronts him asking: "What is more important: A life or your time?"

However, many people on the flight supported Ms Ersson and at one point she becomes tearful when she says a Turkish man stands up in solidarity with her.

Eventually the Afghan man is taken off the flight to applause, and Ms Ersson follows.

While Ms Ersson was successful in stopping the man's deportation she notes during the video that: "It was only one person on this flight today, but there will be more."

Meanwhile, media reports suggest that the man may be deported at a later date.

The Facebook video has been watched more than 2.4 million times since it was posted on Monday, and Ms Ersson's actions have met with support from across the globe.

Comments on the video hail the young activist as "brave", and praise her for giving "hope" to others" and for having done the "right thing".

Comments on Facebook were largely supportive of Ms Ersson. Credit: Facebook

However, there were also those who were critical of Ms Ersson's actions and praised Sweden's tough asylum laws.

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