Copenhagen Police in riot gear entered the Brorson Church in Copenhagen overnight to remove rejected Iraqi asylum-seekers who have been seeking sanctuary in the church since May this year. Seventeen men were removed from the church.
Women, children and the elderly were allowed to remain.
Demonstrators attempted to prevent a police bus containing the 17 men from leaving the area, resulting in violent scenes during which police used batons and pepper spray to clear the way for the bus to leave.
Some 60 Iraqis, whose applications for asylum have been rejected, have been seeking sanctuary in Brorson’s Church since May of this year after Denmark and Iraq signed an agreement under which Iraqi nationals, whose asylum requests had been denied, could be repatriated.
Iraq, however, has denied that it has agreed to receive rejected asylum-seekers who do not wish to be repatriated.
“There are no such agreements. All talk of such agreements existing are a hetz designed to affect the reputation of the Iraqi government among Iraqi refugees,” says Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on the Iraqi government website.
Edited by Julian Isherwood