German taxi-drivers plan to block Danish border in protest
German taxi-drivers plan to block the Danish border in protest after a taxi driver is arrested on charges of smuggling people over the board.
10th January 2008
Flensburg (dpa) - German taxi drivers plan to blockade a border crossing to Denmark in protest at the arrest of one of them on human-smuggling charges.
"The Danes are treating him like a big league criminal just because he drove some Afghan passengers without any identity papers over the border," said Frank Hofeditz, chief of the company that employs the arrested driver.
The fellow drivers said they would block the border road for a short time on Thursday.
The driver, who is in jail in Apenrade, Denmark awaiting a January 21 court appearance, claimed he was flagged down on a street in Flensburg, Germany's northernmost city, and hired for a long-distance fare to the Danish capital Copenhagen.
Refugee-help groups say the city is a main waystation for illegal immigrants who make landfall in southern Europe and cross Germany and Denmark, heading to Sweden, which has liberal political-asylum rules.
The taxicab was pulled over by a Danish roving patrol near the border.
Chamber of Commerce officials in Flensburg said taxi drivers in the city were between a rock and a hard place, since taxis have an obligation under German law to carry everyone who flags them down.
It advised drivers to demand that northbound passengers prove their legal entitlement to enter Denmark. The border is open and locals drive across it at will under European Union rules.