Swedish Police force Romani migrants to vacate camp, PM says they are not the country's responsibility
Swedish newspaper TheLocal.se reports in a detailed article that "hundreds" of Roma migrants were "left without an overnight base"after police forced them to vacate a large "shantytown" in Malmö. Swedish PM Stefan Löftven announced the news and added that Sweden is not responsible for such people.
In the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday approximately 30 police officers paid a visit to the campsite. They first removed protesters who were blockading the entrance to the camp, then forced their way onto the premises and called on the occupants to leave.
One Romani camper, who identified himself to TheLocal.se as Samuel, said the police used force in some cases. "They surrounded us and began to drag people out, they were pulling them along the gravel. Anyone who resisted was beaten," he told the Swedish news agency TT.
Samuel also said the activists had been protesting peacefully and did not resist police. TT reports one person was arrested.
Some protesters immediately continued their campaign in front of the Malmö town hall. The Swedish PM told TT that responsibility for arranging for a roof over the head of the migrants rests with Bulgaria and Romania, which is where most of them come from.
The PM also expressed support for the mayor of Malmö, Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, who is a fellow member of in the center-left Socialist Party. Roughly 200 people were living in the camp, and last week the town council's Environment Commission issued the finding that the existence of the camp represented a health risk both to the occupants and to people in the neighborhood, ordering it evacuated by 16:00 on Sunday.
Some occupants decided to remain even after the deadline and were among those ordered to vacate the camp on Tuesday. According to Swedish law, local residents and visitors from abroad have the right to camp or move around just about anywhere as long as they are not on public land adjacent to local residents' properties or privately-owned gardens.
The case of the camp in Malmö was unusual, as the owner of the land had tolerated the migrants' stay there for half a year before reporting the trespass to police. The Malmö town council reportedly did offer roughly 50 people from the closed-down camp accommodation for five nights and is also reportedly attempting to arrange aid for them in the villages where they used to live in their home countries.
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