Christiania evictions spark riots in Copenhagen: A Brave New World in the Duck Pond

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Christiania evictions spark riots in Copenhagen, is not a story by colonos, it just came in on the wire and is reproduced here with no comments, really, unless, that is, THAT THIS is typical of the racist, culturally cleansing Danish government and their coercive police force.

Christiania is a place that they just don’t like, because people are different there. Remember that this is the duck pond country of The Ugly Duckling, where if “you are not from around here” you better get out.

Since the current and far-right founded government began their cultural cleansings with their shocking win and alliance with the racist, anti-muslim, national social-democratic, far-right, Danish People’s Party, in 2001, there has been a war on christiania. Alongside Denmark’s participation in the war on the Afghan people the country has undergone a dramatic cultural turn for the worse. The people have responded eloquently to Prime Minister, Anders Fjogh Rasmussen:

The government in their first few weeks in office announced a cultural genocide when they listed 250 research institutions and projects to be shut down. That was just the beginning. Meanwhile there is a rise of extremist christians as well.

Violence and gang war is now on the daily agenda in a city that suddenly has to sustain a large cannabis market that was previously run by happy hippies in an unholy marriage with Hell’s Angels type bikers. This used to unfold in a fairly organised and mostly peaceful manner in Christiania’s Pusher Street, for all to see and observe and know about, but the market came up for grabs when it was pressurised, as part of the cultural war, out of the Free Town (Fristaden, as Christiania is also called). There was a culture similar to that of the Dutch coffee clubs, but in a lovely park by the water where many cafes and restaurants and social and ecological projects constinue to thrive, but nowadays with the ever present threat of raiding riot cops. Consequently, the cannabis market now unfolds around the city where rival gangs make neighbourhoods their own battlefields.

As violence has become everyday the authoritarian government, of course, has responded by investing more powers in the police, who have, with increasing force, introduced security zones in the inner city where civil liberties are routinely suspended in the form of stop and search interventions without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. The Brave New World has come to the Duck Pond. Of course it is very convenient to evict the cannabis market from Christiania, because the consequent warfare was obvious and serves as a perfect excuse to erode civil liberties and step up spending on policing in general.

In the 1970s Denmark’s social-democratic experiment was still a model and example, although it had many problems, it was certainly better than the extreme right-wing regime of today. It came to an end in 1982 when the country has its first round of the neoliberal waves of destruction that have brought the planet into a financial and ecological crisis. This is round two.

Sites and stories:
http://english.indymedia.dk/publish/show/198
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/10/411883.html
http://www.christiania.org/

Two videos from over last 24 hours
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imrzDdfThxE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRs8XJ3FMvY

Christiania fires it up
Post Happened on 10/28/2008, history by Cablefish

After the police evicted a house in Christianiain the morning, Copenhagen saw yet another day of actions and night of rioting. For both police and activists this was a test of strengths and a taste of
things to come as legal proceedings are getting more and more troublesome for the inhabitants of Christiania.

The Eviction

The main authority on Christiania (slots & ejendomsstyrelse) decided to evict the second floor of a house on Christiania. They were backed by an unprecedented large police force. At 7:30am a major police force arrived at Christiania. Neighbours of the soon to be evicted house were rushed out of their beds and homes without being allowed time to get their heart medicine. By 9am construction workers started tearing down the second floor. They wore ski mask’s to avoid identification, making them look like terrorists and the police cleared the surrounding area from onlookers.

Background

The eviction itself isn’t a big deal as such. There is a dispute about whether or not an inhabitant had built the second floor of his house legally or illegally. During recent years every inhabitant wanting to
build or expand their house have had to apply for permission, which was always declined. The legal proceedings are moving at an extremely slow pace, effectively preventing the development of the area and leaving many inhabitants unsure about their future prospects. Another major step will be taken early next week when another important legal proceeding starts. Inhabitants of Christiania argue that Slots & Ejendomstyrelsen are provoking confrontations in order to put Christiania in a bad light before the trials.

Major Police Operation

The danish police has been receiving a lot of critique in the mainstream media as they spent their time evicting peaceful inhabitant of a part of the city and have no time to pick up shoplifters from security at malls. Another scandal revolving about the amount of time police take responding to emergency calls, due to lack of resources, resulting in several deaths. At the same time Denmark’s police force
has enough ressources to have 300 officers stationed in or around Christiania for more than 16 hours, and the time to prepare and operation of these dimension, all for the eviction and demolition of
half a house. This has been critized by the liberal left parties (SF) in Denmark.

Another Day of Action

Starting in the early morning hours, supporters of Christiania started gathering in the vicinity of the police barricade. Police used pepperspray in some instances, but generally threatened arrest to keep people at bay. At all times there were police on either sides of the crowd discouraging any attemts to attempt to get through the lines to the site of the actual eviciton. At some point a small barickade was
built but dismantled soon after.

At 11am a spontaneous demonstrations starts from Christiania towards the city centre. Police presence is massive and the march is stopped when approaching the Slots & Ejendomsstyrelsen offices. Protesters try to run arrond the police blockade while the police tries to encircle the protesters and push them back towards Christiania. At one point a police car tries to drive throught the crowd bumping into two persons blocking its way, luckily not resulting in any serious injuries. Protesters charge it and pull of its side mirrors causing it to back off.

On the way back the demonstration stops, blockading one of the bridges, a major thoroughfare into the city for about an hour. The police are obviously pissed and want to clear the bridge but were held of by the cameras of the press who were massing there. After the blockade is lifted people return to Christiania.

Police step up their effort

At 4pm another demo tries to leave Christiania. This time the police blocks it at the entrance to of Christiania saying to the press that they wouldn’t “reapeat the mistake from earlier today by letting an
unruly crowd into town”. Police ask for a “leader of the protest” to step forward in order to “ensure safety”. No leaders are to be found.

The demo disperses but at 5pm a crowd rushes to blockade another major bridge into town. More than 100 cops show up in a hurry while still maintaining a strong presence at Christiania and all other bridges
into town. The police quickly surrounds the crowd, attempting to pen everyone in, but enough escape to take the bridge by moving away from police lines.

The police allow the penned in people join their comrades and then move to disperse the crowd. Altogether the bridge was blockaded for about 25 minutes.

So far the day has not seen a lot of violence. The massive police force has succeeded in arresting all in all 3 people for minor offences. It seems like police are following a no arrest policy in order not to spark yet another riot.

Overreaction or Provocation

Returning to Christiania the police takes up a large pressence at the entrance to Christiania in the beginning dark of nightfall. A few bottles fly in their direction and the police responds by shooting
tear gas all over the place. For about an hour, little is thrown at the police, however large amounts of tear gas are launched at Christiania. Whenever they detect movement, police fire more gas grenades. The windless evening deprives large parts of Christiania of breathable air, effectively shutting them down.

Rioting Picks Up

At about 7pm more organized counterattacks are launched while the wind picks up a little bit and blows the gas away. The police responds with more tear gas. Rioters get creative in their ways of attacking the police, hiding in gardens and ambushing from several directions at once. The police withdraws from the entrances to Christiania allowing the rioters to build fires in the streets. The police forces charge,
but are pushed back after a brief battle with three molotows being trown. The rioters are very organized keeping guards on all sides to avoid the police making any arrests and have set up an early warning system.

The police once again drowns the area in massive amounts of tear gas.According to mainstream media they were very close to running out and had to have it delivered from other parts of the country, sirens blazing. The battles continues for some hours with more protesters attacking the police and the police firing tear gas back every time. The police are unable to advance without exposing themselves so they keep staying right outside Christiania taking the repeated rains of bricks and stones and shooting tear gas. After a few hour the police use all their numbers attacking several places at once. The rioters fall back and disperse inside Christiania, with 12 people getting arrested. Some are likely to have been bystanders, getting caught in the charge. All of them are charged with heavy rioting, which usually results in a sentence of a few months prison time.

In spite of being one of the largest police operations in Christiania yet, it failed to prevent a serious riot, failed to stop people taking to the streets and taking action, failed to arrest more than relatively few people. Once again muscles were flexed on both sides of the conflict. A taste of things to come if the governments normalization plans are carried out and more houses are evicted.

Links:

Danish Timeline and original images
http://modkraft.dk/spip.php?article9012
<http://modkraft.dk/spip.php?article9012>

Corporate Media Video
http://politiken.tv/nyheder/indland/article589714.ece

Christiania you have my Heart, Documentary 1991 (google video)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8887317701829510625

Various Christiania residents’ home pages
http://www.christiania.org/modules.php?name=Mainpage&gruppe=1

The rebuilding of the house long since commenced – we never give up!

2 thoughts on “Christiania evictions spark riots in Copenhagen: A Brave New World in the Duck Pond

    […] Racism in the Duck Pond: Danish Anti-Racist Viciously Attacked Colonos recently brought tidings from a little country in Scandinavia called Denmark, which is undergoing a cultural revolution […]

    […] media distortions or simply coincidences? Colonos have just featured two posts (1/2) about Denmark and received this comment to the second […]

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