Asylum seeker arrested after threatening to blow himself up at Denmark refugee centre

Police evacuated residents of the centre and banned planes flying over as the stand-off continued

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The Independent Online

Police have arrested an asylum seeker who climbed on to the roof of a refugee centre in Denmark and threatened to blow himself up, prompting a stand-off that lasted for several hours.

It was unclear whether the claim was credible but it sparked a lockdown around the building in the city of Nyborg and a ban on aircraft flying overhead.

Armed police were dispatched and other residents of the asylum centre were evacuated as negotiators tried to talk the man down for more than two hours.

A spokesperson for Funen Police said the man, a 22-year-old asylum seeker from Iran, was arrested “without drama”.

“It was reportedly heartbreak that caused the man to threaten to blow himself up,” a statement said.

“Funen Police will now start to question him and investigate the circumstances of the case.”

Police were called at 11.15am local time (10.15am BST) and the incident was resolved around two-and-a-half hours later.

The Nyborg asylum centre can house up to 500 residents and says it works to offer them a “dignified stay” while asylum applications are processed.

Denmark received 21,000 asylum applications during 2015, up from 14,815 the previous year.

Proportionately to its population of 5.5 million, it has the ninth-highest number of refugee arrivals in Europe according to the latest EU statistics, behind Germany, Austria, Malta, Luxembourg, Sweden, Cyprus, Hungary and Bulgaria.

The country has been criticised for attempts to reduce arrivals, including a call by the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party to ban Muslim asylum seekers for up to six years.

Denmark’s controversial law allowing authorities to seize asylum seekers' cash and valuables to “pay for their stay” sparked international condemnation earlier this year but several other countries have introduced similar measures as Europe’s attitude towards asylum seekers hardens.