Chinese Berry Pickers Protest in Sweden

Around 120 Chinese seasonal berry pickers in northern Sweden went on a 15 kilometre march overnight on Friday to protest their salaries, a local social services official said.

Thousands of seasonal workers from Asia, most of them from Thailand, come to Sweden each summer mainly to pick wild berries in the north under sometimes difficult working conditions.

‘Last night, around 120 Chinese berry pickers sat down on the road to protest,’ Kerstin Asplund, who is in charge of social services in the northern municipality of Storuman, told AFP.

The protesters carried out their sit-in after hiking 15 kilometres, carrying signs reading ‘SOS’ and ‘Help,’ near the wooded area where they had been asked to pick berries, some 160 kilometres from the Arctic Circle.

‘It is difficult to know what they want exactly, since there is a language barrier, but we know they are asking for an increase in pay,’ Mr Asplund said.

After their sit-in, monitored by police, the demonstrators were driven by bus to a public venue that had agreed to accommodate them.


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