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A few hundred protesters in targeted locations across Helsinki objected the deportations of refugees back to Afghanistan on Monday evening.
The Finnish authorities hadn’t for security reasons revealed any details of the schedules of when the refugees would be expelled, but the dates, times and locations had been spread across the social media through politicians and sources close to the refugees.
At the Pasila police station, some protesters clad in dark clothes and masks clashed with the police, while trying to stop the paddy wagons from leaving. Police sprayed gas to calm down the troublemakers, and a vicious Malinois was howling and barking and attacking the demonstrators. Some of the officers had pulled out their expandable batons.
The protests continued at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport where a few hundred people were sending out the message with signs saying “Afghanistan Is Not Safe” and “The Destination of Deportation is Annihilation.”
Last year, the Finnish Immigration Service MIGRI refused about 3,000 residence permits from Afghan refugees. This amounts to about half of Afghan’s asylum applications. The deportation flight that was scheduled to leave from Helsinki-Vantaa at midnight was the third known flight shipping out refugees to Afghanistan.
The increased number of deportations is based on the tightened policy of MIGRI. In May 2016,[highlight color=#FFFF00 ]Finland Today reported[/highlight] that refugees from Afghanistan, Somalia, and Iraq will not automatically be granted a residence permit because of the improved security situation in the aforementioned countries. Tuesday’s evictions follow the aftermath of MIGRI chief Jaana Vuori’s promise that according to the new guidelines there will be “more denied applications.”
In October 2016, Interior Minister Paula Risikko signed a repatriation agreement with Afghanistan, which affirms official procedures concerning voluntary and involuntary return of asylum seekers.
In March 2017, MIGRI published some details of the reasoning behind a negative asylum decision: “According to the law, our duty is to evaluate whether the asylum seeker also is in risk of similar persecution if he or she returned to his or her home country. Perhaps those persecuting the asylum seeker have left or the asylum seeker is not in risk of persecution in another region.”