A student activist’s passionate protest has gone viral after she rallied against the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker.
While on a Turkish airlines flight travelling from Gothenburg, Sweden to Istanbul, Turkey, 22-year-old Elin Ersson had been seated in front of a 52-year-old Afghan man.
When the Swedish student discovered her fellow passenger was actually an asylum seeker who was due to be deported back to Kabul after landing in Istanbul, she decided to take action.
Taking out her phone, Elin took a 14-minute clip, which shows her refusing to take a seat, knowing the plane would be unable to take off if she remained standing.
In the footage she stressed how the man’s life would be in danger if he returned to his home country.
Explaining her stance, Elin can be heard protesting:
I don’t want a man’s life to be taken away just because you don’t want to miss your flight. I am not going to sit down until the person is off the plane.
When an air steward told her to stop filming, Elin replied:
I am doing what I can to save a person’s life. 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.
You can watch Elin taking a stand below:
Passengers on board the flight reacted in various ways. Some were sympathetic with the situation the man found himself in, and the bravery it had taken the young woman to speak up, but others were furious about the interruption.
At one point, a passenger with an English accent attempted to snatch Elin’s phone away from her, however she remained firm.
Addressing this passenger, Elin said:
What is more important, a life, or your time? 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.
Compassionate Elin’s persistence paid off, and the asylum seeker was taken off the flight after authorities declined to remove Elin by force.
Applause could be heard as the man exited the plane and since the incident, people have hailed Elin a hero and true political activist on social media.
One person tweeted:
We need more heroes like #ElinErsson. Standing up against what is wrong.
While another said:
There are not many people I admire at the moment, but #ElinErsson is up there among them. I wish I could believe I would have her courage.
This is what a human rights defender looks like.
Inspiring footage of young Swedish woman stopping the deportation of a man from Gothenburg to Afghanistan. She refused to sit down until he was taken off the plane. https://t.co/JHIZ0ySnq8
— Stefan Simanowitz (@StefSimanowitz) July 24, 2018
This beautiful brave young girl from Sweden stood against police to stop deportation of a 52 Year old Afghan man from Sweden .
So proud of you Angel ?.https://t.co/f942WYGpay
— 艾未未 Ai Weiwei (@aiww) July 24, 2018
#ElinErsson, thank you for your stand, for your courage, compassion and hope. You have sent us all a message to stand up in what we believe in and not shy away from what is right.
— Matt Oduor (@MattOduor) July 24, 2018
Elin Ersson….. a wonderful young woman stood up for a stranger. Can't thank her enough for making a change.
— Klaus ( Bratwurst Spice ) (@bavariangamer) July 24, 2018
#ElinErsson represents the best of us, those of us who are willing to be uncomfortable, willing to make things awkward. No one ever said resistance was convenient, on schedule, polite or ladylike. Thanks, Elin!#Resistance #WhitePrivilege #SuperShero
— mkmenard (@mkmenard) July 24, 2018
We need more heros like #ElinErsson. Standing up against what is wrong.
— Kai Bittner (@kai_the24th) July 24, 2018
#ElinErsson, I applaud you and your heroic actions. If only we all had the strength to act and fight for what we believe in ??
— Camila Ochoa Mendoza (@camilaochoam) July 25, 2018
There are not many people I admire at the moment, but #ElinErsson is up there among them. I wish I could believe I would have her courage
— Kathryn Coddington (@KathrynCddton) July 25, 2018
Swedish authorities have since stated how the asylum seeker still faces deportation. However, a date has not been set as of yet.
Elin may now face a prison sentence of up to six months for her refusal to obey police orders.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications. When not Lad-ing about, she enjoys cooking, reading and trying not to fall over in Yoga.