A student activist single-handedly caused a flight to be cancelled in order to prevent a man from being deported from Sweden to Afghanistan on Monday — and her video of the incident has gone viral.
In protest of her country's immigration policies, Swedish national Elin Ersson booked a ticket on a Turkish airlines flight for the purpose of having another passenger removed. Once on board, Ersson refused to take a seat unless the man —an Afghan asylum-seeker — was allowed to exit the aircraft.
On Facebook livestream video, Ersson filmed herself for several minutes while explaining her reason for ignoring the repeated calls for her to sit down. The student's protest drew mixed reactions from the flight attendants and would-be travelers affected by her act of civil disobedience.
At one point in the clip, Ersson's phone is taken from her but immediately returned. Fellow passengers can be heard pleading for the activist to comply with the crew's instructions. She told one man, "I don't want a man's life to be taken away just because you don't want to miss your flight."
While strolling through the aisle of the plane and speaking in English, Ersson tells her audience, "All I want to do is stop the deportation and then I will comply with the rules here. This is all perfectly legal and I have not committed a crime."
As Ersson continued her protest, others aboard began to cheer her on and clap for the student, as she became emotional. Children were also heard crying in the background.
What happened to the Aghan refugee?
Ultimately, the Afghan refugee was allowed off the plane and the flight was cancelled. Officials said the asylum-seeker would still eventually be deported, and Ersson could face up to six months in jail for her actions.
But the social work major was unapologetic afterward, telling The Guardian, "I hope that people start questioning how their country treats refuges. We need to start seeing the people whose lives our immigration [policies] are destroying."
The footage of Ersson's cellphone video has garnered more than 6 million views by Wednesday on Facebook.