Why Reject us? Afghan Demonstrators Ask
Over one hundred and fifty demonstrators, most of whom were Afghan nationals marched in the streets of Copenhagen on November 10th 2011. The demonstration was to call the attention of the Danish government and the general public to the plight of Afghan asylum seekers in Denmark.
The demonstration, arranged by a group of Afghani asylum seekers and the Trampoline House which started at the Copenhagen City Square, Rådhuspladsen at 1pm climaxed outside the parliament building at Christiansborg. The demonstartors, some together with their children as young as one-year-old, braved the chilly and windy afternoon standing outside the parliament carrying banners and chanting slogans. Liv Nimand Duvå a Dane working for Trampoline house - an organisation that supports asylum seekers expressed her dissatisfaction with the way the Danish government is treating refugees. “Denmark is helping the war in Afghanistan, and trying to help people flee. But when they flee to Denmark, we don't even have space for them,” she says.
Søren Rafn of the Trampoline House who helped organise the demonstration said the event was not only a fight for the Afghans but also a wake-up call to Danes to be more open towards foreigners. As the demonstrators shouted and called for Parliamentarians to give them a hearing, it was business as usual inside the parliament buildings. But the pressure is on.
We spotted several members of parliament walk past the demonstrators. some pedestrians and motorists slowed down to catch a
glimpse of the crowd.
In an earlier interview with Zenia Stampe an MP, parliamentarians are keen on bettering the conditions of asylum seekers in general. “It takes some time, but asylum seekers should know that we care for them and we are working to help them.”
Demonstrators who spoke to New Times expressed sadness that the Danish government could even think of deporting people to Afghanistan knowing the situation in that country. Sultan Hussein an Afghan whose case was rejected by the Danish Immigration department said Afghanstan is not a country anyone should be deported to. “For 33 years, Afghanistan has been at war, the Taliban, the US wars, we have not known peace. Everyday 30 to 50 people are killed in that country, don't we have human rights?”
Afghanistan has endured over three decades of political,religious and tribal tensions which escalated after the United States led invasion in 2001. Afghanistan´s woes begun in 1979 when the Soviet invaded the country. Since then the country has been engaged in war after war that has led to hundreds of thousands of civilians seeking refugee in the neighbouring Pakistan and Iran, and also in Europe and the United States.
“This is just a beginning, says Søren, “It may not bear results today, but in the long run we hope it will make Denmark more receptive to Afghan refugees and all other asylum seekers.”
The demonstration was also supported by Grandparents for Asylum, a Danish Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) thats supports the interests of asylum seekers in Denmark.