December 8, 2016 / 10:14 AM / 8 months ago

Danish MP suggests shooting at boats carrying migrants

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Security forces should shoot at the boats of migrants trying to reach the European Union illegally, a member of parliament for the Danish government's main political ally, the Danish People's Party, suggested on national television.

"The only efficient way is to turn the boats and say: 'You cannot sail within this national border and if you do, you will either be shot at or be turned around and sailed back," Kenneth Berth, the EU spokesman for anti-immigrant party, said on broadcaster DK4 on Tuesday.

Berth later softened his statement on Facebook, saying he did not mean that people should be shot at, but that NATO-ships could shoot in the air as a warning.

Party spokesman Soren Sondergaard told Reuters that shooting at refugees is not the official party line.

The Danish People's Party got 21 percent of the popular vote in last year's general election, making it the second-largest party in parliament.

Denmark has implemented tough immigration policies since a heavy influx of refugees last year, including border control and a controversial "jewellery bill".

In August, the government proposed an emergency law, allowing it to reject asylum seekers at its borders.

Reporting by Annabella Pultz Nielsen, additional reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Teis Jensen, Editing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Larry King

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