Dubai: Not all heroes wear capes but social media users believe that Swedish student, Elin Ersson, deserves one. Ersson is being hailed as a hero after she refused to sit on a flight to protest against the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker, who was being sent back to Afghanistan.
According to a report by British newspaper The Telegraph: “Ersson took action after learning that the man on the Gothenburg to Istanbul flight would be transferred to another plane and sent to Afghanistan, where she insisted he would probably be killed.”
Ersson livestreamed the whole ordeal on Facebook and the 13-minute video was watched by more than 2,000,000 people. Her post was shared 34,000 times.
In the video she narrates what was happening on the plane and is seen arguing with the flight crew, who repeatedly ask her to sit down and try to take her phone away.
One passenger can be heard shouting “sit down, we want to go” in the background too.
Despite the tense environment on the plane and being repeatedly “pushed”, Ersson stuck to her belief and said: “Right now, there is a family outside the airport who thought that their brother or son was [going to come out] but he is being sent to Afghanistan… where he will be killed… If he is deported to Afghanistan, he probably dies.”
When a few more people complained, Ersson asked: “I don’t want a man’s life to be taken away just because you don’t want to miss your flight… I am not going to sit down until the person is off the plane.”
She did receive some sympathy from a few passengers and according to reports, a football team on board the plane stood up with her.
She received a lot of support on social media and users jumped to praise her for her bravery. On twitter, @ellysisisland posted: “People have the power!!! #HumanRights #Swedish student’s dramatic plane protest stops man’s deportation ....
Tweep @RaymES4 said: “Kudos to this young woman… literally standing up for her beliefs and having to do it in front of a plane full of angry people! #swedish #ElinErsson.”
@wmerzaiy tweeted: “This #Swedish girl without doubt is the reason why people from conflict regions chose Europe as their safe and final destination. Long live #humanity.”
And @alaqsa81090 added: “…who says one person cannot make a difference!” On Facebook, her video had hundreds of comments. @Gull Leighton said: Well done! You are a brave warrior and thank you for standing up for what is right, in the face of intimidation and threats. I salute you dear Elin!
@Ivana Scepanovic said: “This is what peaceful resistance looks like!!”
At the end of the ordeal, the Afghan man was taken off the plane, along with an emotional Ersson. The Telegraph reported: “The activist now faces fines or up to six months in jail for failing to comply with the instructions of the crew. The Afghan remained in custody and still faces deportation… .”
In the past, Sweden was known for its welcoming attitude towards refugees and had generous immigration laws as compared to other places in Europe. However, over the years, the number of immigrants entering the country increased, which proved to be a challenge for the Swedish economy, according to reports.
The Swedish elections are set to take place in September 2018, which might lead to a change in leadership, as well as present opportunities.