HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland on Saturday started border checks for asylum seekers arriving from Sweden in the northern town of Tornio, while people there demonstrated against a growing influx of refugees.
“From now on, people crossing border in Tornio will be checked by a procedure led by the police”, the interior ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said asylum seekers can no longer continue their journey from Tornio to elsewhere in Finland without registering as asylum seekers.
“The situation up north is uncontrollable. People have continued from there to any police station in Finland,” Paivi Nerg from the ministry told the online edition of Helsingin Sanomat daily.
According to public broadcaster YLE, about hundred Finns gathered for a demonstration at Tornio border, with signs saying “Close the borders!”
The government said on Friday that more than 11,000 asylum seekers, most from Iraq, have come to Finland so far this year, compared to just 3,600 in the whole last year.
Last week, Finland agreed to accept its two percent share of 120,000 asylum seekers to be relocated across European Union states, but said it remained opposed to a mandatory quotas.
The government is looking to lower asylum seekers’ cash benefit, now 316 euros ($356) a month for a single adult without meals, and aims to cut social integration benefits.
It is also planning to increase capital gains tax and income tax on high earners to help pay for higher immigration costs.
Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl; Editing by Toby Chopra