Mass arrests in Sweden at protest against deportations to Iraq

18 January

Police arrested 70 demonstrators outside a migration board facility near Gothenburg today after they tried to prevent the transfer of a group of Iraqi citizens who were due to be deported.

Police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg said that the protesters were detained at around midnight after they placed themselves and their vehicles in front of three transports carrying the Iraqis.

They aimed to prevent authorities from transferring the Iraqis to Stockholm, where they are scheduled to be flown out today.

Amnesty slammed the right-wing Swedish government on Monday for forcibly returning Iraqi refugees back to their war-torn homeland.

It noted that, as late as December 15 last year, the Moderate-led coalition sent 20 people back to Baghdad, including five Christian people who are especially vulnerable to abuse and persecution in post-Saddam Iraq.

At least 12 Christians were murdered by sectarian fanatics in the occupied country in 2010.

The Council of Europe and the UN have expressed concern about the expulsions.

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