Anger from all sides as Danish police manhandle Iraqi refugees

danish refugeesWhen the Copenhagen police forcibly evicted 19 Iraqi asylum seekers from a church in Norrebro, their tactics were anything but gentle. Such was the heavy-handed approach to rounding up the Iraqis from their shelter in Brorson’s Church that cries of outrage are ringing out from all quarters.

A number of politicians, local activists, and even a former Danish prime minister are condemning the police raid as brutal. Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, a former prime minister and current president of the Party of European Socialists, has been particularly vocal in his lambasting of the Copenhagen police.

“It went beyond the bounds of common humanity and decency,” he commented to the Copenhagen Post. Domestic Danish politicians are also unhappy with the treatment of the Iraqi asylum seekers, with criticism weighing in from three of the four opposition parties in government.

Denmark’s largest political party, the Social Democrats, have backed the evictions. Video evidence of the actual eviction clearly shows an officer beating a young Iraqi woman many times with his baton. This was the most glaring example of several recorded incidents of excessive police force used during the incident.

The Danish government has washed its hands of any involvement in the police action. The Integration Minister, Birthe Ronn Hornbech, told the Berlingske Tidende newspaper “The police have their own division to deal with immigration issues,” adding that the refugees were to blame for their predicament.

“When Denmark made the agreement with Iraq to take the refugees, I appealed repeatedly to them through the media to go home willingly. I made it clear that if they had to be sent back forcefully then they wouldn’t have any influence on their own situation,” Hornbech commented.

For more, see the CPHPost.

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