Student forces flight to be cancelled in a bid to stop a man from being deported to 'hell'
In recent months, immigration has become a subject of huge debate - especially in Europe and the USA. Recent conflict and ongoing poor standards of living in less developed countries have caused an influx of immigrants to places with better qualities of life, but many existing citizens of those countries have objected to this.
As a result, thousands of immigrants and asylum seekers have found themselves being deported back to their place of origin, often putting them in dangerous or life-threatening situations.
This week, however, one deportation was disrupted when a university student from Sweden refused to let the plane take off.
Elin Ersson, a 21-year-old activist, refused to sit down on a flight from Gothenburg to Turkey on Monday after she found out that an Afghan man was due to be deported on it.
In video footage she recorded herself, Ersson showed the objection she faced from other passengers and airline staff.
"He will most likely get killed if he stays on the plane," she explained, and refused to sit down in order to prepare for take-off.
"I don’t want a man’s life to be taken away just because you don’t want to miss your flight," she said to a fellow passenger. "I am not going to sit down until the person is off the plane."
Despite being repeatedly asked to stop filming herself, the young woman protested. "I am doing what I can to save a person’s life," she said. "As long as a person is standing up the pilot cannot take off. All I want to do is stop the deportation and then I will comply with the rules here. This is all perfectly legal and I have not committed a crime."
At one point, someone tried to grab her phone off her, but Ersson stood her ground.
"What is more important, a life, or your time?" she asked her fellow passenger. "I want him to get off the plane because he is not safe in Afghanistan. I am trying to change my country’s rules, I don’t like them. It is not right to send people to hell."
When someone argued with her that she was "preventing passengers from [reaching] their destination", Ersson retorted: "Yeah, but they're not going to die. He's going to die."
She held up the flight for 15 minutes until - finally - the pilot relented and asked for the Afgan man to be taken off the plane, at which point she left.
During the standoff, Ersson reported that several passengers had expressed their support for her and what she was doing, as well as for the man who was due to be deported. In fact, when he was finally taken off the plane, the young activist received a round of applause from other passengers.
Ersson knows that not everyone is happy about the decision she made, but she was more than willing to put herself at risk for the sake of saving somebody else's life.
The video has since received more than 2.4million views, and has been shared over 35,000 times.
The man is still being held in custody in Sweden.