Photo: Robert Nyholm/TT
Demonstrators against an open border in Tornio, Finland. Photo: Robert Nyholm/TT

Demonstrations for and against refugees to Finland via Sweden

Saturday two groups gathered in Tornio (Torneå) in Finland, just across the border from the Swedish town of Haparanda in the far north, to demonstrate for and against the stream of refugees seeking asylum in Finland by way of Sweden.

Swedish Television news, reporting from Tornio, said that there were approximately 300 people gathered to protest the influx of refugees into Finland. Around 80 people had assembled for a counter-demonstration to welcome asylum seekers to Finland.

Protestors against the influx marched and chanted "close the border." They claim that immigration in Finland is out of control. Swedish Television news also reported that the group criticized many EU countries, including Sweden, for not following the Dublin Agreement, which calls for refugees to seek asylum in the first European country they enter and are registered in.

An organizer for the counter demonstration told Swedish Radio's local channel in Norrbotten county that the groups were demonstrating peacefully. He also said there were a number of police on site.

As groups of refugees began arriving in Sweden several weeks ago, many have continued onwards to Finland where they believe their asylum applications will be processed more quickly. Some refugees take the long journey by bus and train to the Swedish-Finnish border in the north because boat trips over the Baltic would require showing identification.

In September Finland announced it would tighten control over its northern border in an effort to control the flow of refugees that come to the country by land.

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