Asylum seekers’ demonstration sparked reaction

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Around 50 asylum seekers went on a two-hour march over the weekend to protest conditions at the Norwegian asylum reception center where they were housed. Their demonstration also sparked protests, with even one asylum advocate saying it was “unwise” of them to complain about the food.

While Norwegian officials scramble to accommodate the thousands of asylum seekers streaming into Norway, the state is facing huge costs to feed and shelter them. Officials at immigration agency UDI claim the most important thing is simply to get a roof over their heads, and asylum seekers are being put up everywhere from hastily set-up shelters to mountain hotels.

The majority have been grateful, but not all. A group of frustrated mostly male asylum seekers marched from the Kolstad asylum reception center to the police station in Sarpsborg, southern Norway, on Saturday evening to complain about the food they were served, long waiting times to get their asylum applications processed, a lack of cleanliness at the asylum center, a lack of Internet access and a lack of transport opportunities into town.

The demonstration angered some politicians including Mazyar Keshvari of the Progress Party, who came to Norway as an immigrant himself. “These ungrateful people should immediately leave the country,” Keshvari claimed.

Ann-Margrit Austenå, secretary general of the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS), agreed it was unwise of the asylum seekers to compain about the food, since they receive chicken and meat every day plus as much rice or salad as they can eat. “But we must understand that this (the complaints) is arising from their frustration with the entire situation,” Austenå told newspaper Aftenposten.

Skjalg Sundby, manager of the asylum center, conceded that cleanliness at the center could be better. “But I don’t think there’s any reason to complain about the food,” he said. “It’s not that bad.” staff

  • John Palmer

    If they don’t like it, then leave.

  • Rosemary

    This from people who forced their way into Norway illegally. If they behave like this when their applications are still pending, what will it be like if they’re allowed to stay? If I were the Norwegian authorities I would deport every single one of them without the option. Arrogant ingratitude. Desperate people, my backside. Keep the women and children who really need refuge. Deport this lot forthwith.

    • frenk

      Mmmm….nice attitude……

      • Rosemary

        Mine, or theirs?

        • frenk

          I don’t think they ‘forced themselves illegally’ into Norway – they
          walked over the border. Norway has plenty of money and resources to help
          these people. Actively ‘deporting people’ does not seem like a viable
          I suppose a little humanity is too much to ask for?
          I can
          only imagine the quality of the food they are being fed….and the
          ‘attitude’ of the Norwegians who are trying to help them!
          Most of them will probably end up staying here and making a life for themselves.

    • John Palmer

      Totally agree.

    • Mike Smith

      I have some Norwegian blood from ancestors who forced their way from Norse settlements in Ireland to NW England.