Recent Posts

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Danish Police Arrest Iraqi Asylum Seekers in Church

Al Jazeera English - Europe - Iraqis seized from Denmark church
Danish police have clashed with protesters as they moved to arrest a group of 17 Iraqis who had taken refuge in a Copenhagen church following the rejection of their asylum applications.

Police forced their way into the Protestant Brorson church in a suburb of the Danish capital early on Thursday, pushing past at least 100 protesters who had tried to barricade the building.

Some reports said pepper spray was used as the police tried to clear the protesters, five of whom were arrested.

Video of the operation appeared to show an officer beating a woman protester several times with his truncheon, and other incidents of what critics said was excessive or unnecessary force.

The move drew an angry response from the pastor in charge of the church, Per Ramsland, who said the police action violated Danish traditions of church sanctuary.

"I had never dreamed that something like this could happen," he told reporters.

Denmark's former prime minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, also condemned the police action, saying it "went beyond the bounds of common humanity and decency".

Denmark's justice Minister, Brian Mikkelsen, however defended the police action, saying in a statement that "the law must be respected" and "one should not count on special treatment even if one occupies a church".

A spokesman for Copenhagen police said the 17 asylum seekers had been taken to a local police station for questioning to establish their identities and if they had a legal right to remain in Denmark.
Technorati Tags: , , ,

Powered by ScribeFire.


Post a Comment