As thousands of ‘asylum seekers’ enter Europe claiming to be fleeing mortal danger, a group prepared to put themselves in danger on Thursday, demanding they be taken to their preferred Nordic nation. The economic migrants threatened to jump off a ferry in Sweden because they wanted to go to Finland or Norway.
The coast guard, police and ambulance service were all sent to the Swedish port of Trelleborg near Malmö at 19:00 on Thursday night, The Local reports.
“They threatened to jump into the water because they didn’t want to be registered in Sweden,” Arvid Tedvik of the local coast guard told the TT News agency. Adding: “The coast guards and the sea rescue services waited and kept watch, but no one ended up jumping in.”
A spokesman from the migration board in Malmö, the end destination for the great majority of refugees in Sweden, said they were aware of the incident: “It is important to point out that we don’t force anyone to leave fingerprints or to seek asylum in Sweden,” he said. “We are always trying to act humanely.”
The spokesman was confused as to why the migrants were making such threats, and insisted it was not the fault of the “very well-behaved” Swedish police force.
Sweden is one of the favorite destinations in Europe for migrants and asylum seekers thanks to its generous welfare system. So the demand from the group that they leave was an unusual one – but not without precedent.
One immigrant admitted wanting to leave in July, remarking that the country had become so violent that it was as bad as Syria, where he had come from.
Meanwhile neighbouring Denmark – not a member of the EU – is less popular as a destination than Sweden, and railways between the two countries were recently suspended because of the on-going migrant crisis.
It’s also just a short ferry ride from Sweden, and left-wingers in the country are using the hashtag #danesdocare to distribute information and literature encouraging migrants to bend the rules and evade registering as a refugee there, so they can reach their preferred economic destination.
A flyer circulating online asks migrants: “Going to Sweden, Norway, Finland?” before instructing them in English and Arabic: “Do not cross Denmark! The Police will register you and then you can only claim asylum in Denmark… Go from Germany to Sweden… there are direct ferries.”
— Frauke Molander (@FraukeMolander) September 9, 2015