More than hundred people gathered on Saturday in the northern Finnish border of Tornio to protest the recent rise in refugee arrivals.
Just before 1pm the participants formed a human wall on the Finnish side of the border between Sweden and Finland.
According to the public broadcaster YLE reports that there were many Finnish flags and people of all ages in place. The demonstrators held signs saying “It is enough. Close the borders!”
“We are opposed to so many asylum seekers coming to Finland. They have come through lots of safe European countries before they reached Finland, and they should have stayed there,” a couple told YLE in Finnish during the demonstration.
“We have just seen men — no families. They are welfare refugees and therefore we protest,” the male said, translated and reported by Speisa.
The woman suggested that Finland instead should take in refugees from refugee camps in the world.
About twenty refugees turned around because of the threatening atmosphere. Inger Asplund, who was a volunteer, stated, “They felt threatened and were simply afraid.”
Interior Minister Petteri Orpo says the stricter stance means that all foreigners who illegally enter the country cannot continue their journey until they registered as asylum seekers there.
Police, who have the main responsibility in the matter, will from now on immediately make contact with anyone seeking asylum at the border. Asylum seekers will be quartered and their asylum application will then be processed rapidly. If the applicant does not have the conditions for asylum, deportation follows.
Orpo said, “It is first and foremost that we must bring the situation under control. This is the way.” He added that Finland can not have a situation where hundreds of asylum seekers move around freely.
DW reports hundreds of refugees, mainly from Iraq, have poured into Finland from Sweden in recent days and up to 30,000 asylum seekers are expected in Finland this year, compared to 3,651 last year.
Jaana Vuorio, the Head of Finland’s immigration agency, said that from the beginning of 2015 alone 11,263 people have sought asylum in the country. She added that on Thursday, 521 people — the highest number yet — had entered via Sweden.
Finland has been a favorite destination for people from Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan, according to the Interior Ministry, while fewer Syrian nationals have been registered.