Flyktingboendet Grytan. Foto: P4 Jämtland / Sveriges Radio
The asylum reception centre in Grytan. Photo: P4 Jämtland / Sveriges Radio

Asylum seekers stage bus sit-in

Around 30 refugees refused to step off a bus outside an asylum reception centre in central Sweden Wednesday, demanding to be brought back to Malmö, Sweden’s third city located in the south.

“They were disappointed when they arrived here. It’s cold and it’s not a big city,” Bengt Stadin of the local police told news agency TT.

Police were called to the asylum centre, which is located in Grytan - a village south of the town of Östersund in central Sweden - and asked to help get the refugees off the bus, but said they could not assist.

“We can’t force them off the bus. The case would have to go through the Swedish Enforcement Authority, which can issue an eviction order and only then can the police get involved,” Stadin explained.

Fredrik Bengtsson, a Swedish Migration Board spokesman, said that asylum seekers do not have the right to choose themselves where they are placed but are instead offered accommodation wherever it is available.

“We have seen cases where asylum seekers have certain ideas of what awaits them in Sweden and when that doesn’t match reality, then problems arise. They don’t feel what they see here meets their expectations. We’ve had a large amount of people come to Sweden this year and so we can’t place them where they want,” Bengtsson said.

However, asylum seekers are free to decline the accommodation offered to them by the Migration Board and can find their own homes instead.

“Those who are refusing to get off the bus are free to find their own accommodation with the help of family or friends but this is what the Migration Board can offer them,” Bengtsson said.

Migration Board staff have informed the asylum seekers about their procedures.

“We are in dialogue with these individuals, but we are very clear that this is the accommodation they’ve been offered and that if they don’t want it they have to arrange their own accommodation while their asylum applications are being processed,” Sophia Öhvall Lindberg of the Migration Board said.

“We want a solution to this situation,” Öhvall Lindberg added.

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