Chants echoed loudly as passersby wore perplexed expressions — but the demands of activists was crystal clear: “stop deportations” to unsafe countries.
Moves by the Finnish government to forcibly expatriate Iraqis, Afghans and other refugees, has elicited similar responses in the past 18 months.
The government under, Juha Sipilä, has adopted a tougher stance towards refugees, once existing laws were twisted in 2015 to argue that Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia are stable states.
Among the speakers was Iraqi government representative, Hussein al Taee, trumpeting the argument: Iraqi is safe for the return of Iraqis.
Just last week the community marked the 100th day of their sit-in that began Feb. 10 2017, anchored in the heart of the city. Spurred on by demeaning treatment, refugees are mobilising rapidly to “overturn unjust decisions” described one of the organisers, Salam Hadithi.
Those being turned back and those appealing negative decisions, are being denied the assurance they crossed hostile territories and uncertain waters in search of.
Expatriation, as viewed by victims concerned or those fearing they are next, has been likened to a death sentence or “being fed to the sharks” as one protester lamented to FRB-I.
No response was issued by human rights advocates attending the seminar -- including Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations --, but news of their presence and demands is likely to be heard.