Some people still have a romantic idea about Denmark as a little social-democratic haven in Scandinavia where people are free, no one is poor and the rich pay a lot of taxes.
That is a long time ago.
In 1982 Denmark followed the U.S. and the U.K. into the Reagan-Thatcher era with Poul Schlüter as Prime Minister.
That was the end of the social-democratic experiment.
Notable, for instance, in the destruction of what was once – as far as a nation state goes – a relatively benign state of affairs was Bertel Haarder (currently the Interior and Health Minister in the Cabinet of Lars Løkke Rasmussen). From 10 September 1982 to 25 January 1993 he was Education Minister and orchestrated the destruction of the educational system and returned in November 2001 and remained until February 2005 as Minister for Refugees, Immigrants and Integration in the Cabinet of Anders Fogh Rasmussen, which helped elevate Denmark to one of the primary targets of islamist extremism and made Denmark known as one of the most racist, xenophobic right-wing, imperialist warmongering countries in the world – just a couple of steps step down the totalitarian ladder from Iran and North Korea, one is tempted to suggest.
This is what it looks like (and sounds like) today as the police enters a bicycle workshop where people are playing music, repairing bikes and cooperating and sharing skills (notice the comments: “We don’t need any papers AT ALL … I am aware that you have another system in those countries where you are from”, spoken with that typical Danish superior attitude to foreigners..):
The policing of COP15 has been totalitarian and democratic rights routinely suspended: no one is considered innocent until proven guilty, but simply arrested “preventatively”. Close to two thousand – 968 in one swoop – were arrested without committing any offence and been left to sit for hours in a freezing cold street, in their own piss and shit, with plastic strips around their bleeding wrists. Some, including delegates, have been severely beaten.
There have been riots in the animal cage prisons (illegal according to Amnesty) and some spokespeople have been arrested and will be charged with – so far all taking place behind closed doors! – the intentions to be violent against the police and for the intentions to incite riots. In part based on phone tapping of interviews with journalists and alleged illegal tapping of Greenpeace. This is what democracy looks like! The police has since admitted that they “only performed two illegal acts of surveillance of phones, nothing more” and Johan Martini Reimann, Director of Copenhagen Police, in order to calm the waters with an unwitting irony, ensures the public that “they have not operated in a manner differently from normal“. Nice to know that the Danish Police routine breaks the law – and as usual revealing to hear what total disregard for the rule of law that this institution has!
In other words, the rule of law no longer rules (did it ever?) the little rotten Duck Pond. There has been world wide reporting of the fascistic policing measures (see for instance: “Copenhagen: the sound of silence: Denmark’s reputation is being destroyed by police action outside the summit and the gagging of NGOs and poor nations inside“), which, of course, does not really surprise those familiar with the Danish police force and political system. Chavez has interestingly stated that Denmark is more repressive than Venezuela.
In connection with a funny, rather innocent, yet cheeky and coordinated Greenpeace action last night in front of and inside the Danish Parliament – Christiansborg – the Chief Inspector of Copenhagen Police, Per Larsen (currently accused of covering up a terrorist act for political gain) , now severely threaten people. First he states that such an action is “as stupid as anything can be. When you do that kind of thing, you are going to pay for it. And that bill is being prepared now“:
»Det er så dumt, som noget kan være. Når man laver den slags, så kommer man til at betale for det. Og den regning er ved at blive udstedt nu«, siger chefpolitiinspektør Per Larsen fra Københavns Politi.
That’s not enough for Per Larsen, however, who also threatens to shoot activists. He says that “the risk is present if anyone feels threatened. When you do such a thing you expose yourself to risks”:
»Den risiko er også til stede, hvis nogen havde følt sig truet. Når man gør den slags, så udgør man da en risiko for sig selv«, siger Per Larsen.
As we have seen throughout COP15 the Danish police do whatever they can, whatever the want, with whatever means necessary to repress protests and to intimidate and scare people from participating in saving the world from corrupt politicians and greeedy corporate pigs, but this is the first time that they directly threaten to shoot people. (Of course they have infamously shot at protesters in Copenhagen before – in 1993 when 113 rounds were fired at an anti-EU demonstration. Denmark just is like that!)
Obviously poor little Per Larsen is upset that the Greenpeace activists took the piss out of him and his imbecile force and now he wants revenge and speaks like a little boy who has had his toy taken away.
While activists climbed lamp posts etc. in front of the parliament building, three others, dressed in appropriate galla fashion entered the fine dinner where the Danish Queen were receiving the “leaders” of states for some pompous food and drink. The exact same style of action was carried out a week earlier in Brussels. EDIT: The four Greenpeace activists have still not been released, causing the Spanish state to “help” one of them, namely the Spanish head of Greenpeace, Juan Lopéz de Uralde.
All bets are off now, all targets – by any means necessary – are legitimate, it seems.
Ecuador is currently seeing another indigenous uprising in response to the proposed Law of Water (amongst others). Yesterday, a group indigenous protesters (mainly from the Shuar nation) in the Amazon were shot at from a helicopter, leaving two dead and nine other wounded.
colonos is replicating here briefly a statement of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and providing some links to further sources.
The proposed Law of Water is said to be in violation of the Ecuadorian Constitution, which prohibits all forms of privatisation of water. The law would allow for privatisation of water through the back door and prioritise needs of big developments (hydropower and mining) over those of the people. Moreover, in its article 43 it allows for the use of the Armed Forces in situations of protest and conflict around water use (such as when people would protest the diversion of community water for use in mining).
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The following interview was published in Le Monde on 25 May 2009 and translated by NOT BORED! 27 May 2009. It also appears in the Tarnac9 blog, and here, as well as in this tag collection. Spread the word!
LeMonde | 5.25.09 – Here are the responses to the questions that we [Isabelle Mandraud and Caroline Monnot] posed in writing to Julien Coupat. Placed under investigation on 15 November 2008 for “terrorism,” along with eight other people interrogated in Tarnac (Correze) and Paris, he is suspected of having sabotaged the suspended electrical cables of the SNCF. He is the last one still incarcerated. (He has asked that certain words be in italics.)
Q. How are you spending your time?
A. Very well, thank you. Chin-ups, jogging and reading.
Q. Can you recall the circumstances of your arrest for us?
A. A gang of youths, hooded and armed to the teeth, broke into our house. They threatened us, handcuffed us, and took us away, after having broken everything to pieces. They first took us into very fast cars capable of moving at more than 170 kilometers an hour on the highways. In their conversations, the name of a certain Mr Marion (former leader of the anti-terrorist police) came up often. His virile exploits amused them very much, such as the time he slapped one of his colleagues in the face, in good spirits and at a going-away party. They sequestered us for four days in one of their “people’s prisons,” where they stunned us with questions in which absurdity competed with obscenity.
The one who seemed to be the brains of the operation vaguely excused himself from this circus by explaining that it was the fault of the “services,” the higher-ups, all kinds of people who want [to talk to] us very much. Today, my kidnappers are still free. Certain recent and diverse facts attest to the fact that they continue to rage with total impunity.
Q. The sabotage of the SNCF cables in France was claimed [by someone] in Germany. What do you say about that?
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The recent, very violent policing of protests against the G20 meeting in London has become a matter of concern. The story that the authorities tell is one of disobedient police officers. The story, with a bit of imagination, could be understood as if, perhaps, there aren’t just a few bad apples in the barrel, some individuals: maybe there is a disease inside the institution, indeed it is “very worrying“:
“Some officers now appeared prepared to flout recent orders from senior commanders to display their numbers, Huhne said, with another officer photographed at the protest staged by Tamils in Parliament Square with his numbers disguised. “What we appear to have is repeated cases of police officers ignoring the direct orders of their police supervisors and this is very worrying.
“There’s only one motive for a police officer disguising his identity and that’s because he thinks he’s going to be doing something reprehensible.”
Senior Metropolitan police officers held a series of crisis meetings throughout last week and sources said Sir Paul Stephenson, the new commissioner, was determined to get a grip. One Met source said he was ready to “kick some ass” among senior officers. The IPCC has received more than 185 complaints about the G20 protests, of which 44 are not eligible for consideration, including complaints from people who saw footage on TV. Around 90 complaints about use of force included witness accounts as well as those from alleged victims.”
It is obviously wishful thinking that the current concern will translate into institutional reforms on a large scale. Most likely it will subside into a few firings, extended suspensions (paid holidays) and early retirements with golden handshakes. The police as an institution is intricately connected to the economy and representative democracy, representing industrial, private interests, as such it is a force of violence that is mobilised when the masses threaten the elite. The police are the arms of the agents of waste.
“The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule.” Walter Benjamin, 1940.
For those who have followed mainstream media coverage – as it first unfolded – of the protests against the scandalous G20 (who are deciding to give the IMF, those with the Structural Adjustment Plans to steal from the poor, an enormous amount of money: The G-20 agreed to give the fund and other development bodies new resources of $1.1 trillion, exceeding most expectations, with the IMF’s coffers potentially boosted by $750 billion) might have missed a few things, but thankfully we have Indymedia and others.
This is not, however, about economics and politrix directly (this seems like an interesting introduction to those issues), but about police brutality.
UPDATE: The Guardian has now brought two stories, documenting police brutality leading to the death of Ian Tomlinson:
and Video reveals G20 police assault on man who died: Exclusive footage obtained by the Guardian shows Ian Tomlinson, who died during G20 protests in London, was attacked from behind by baton–wielding police officer
FURTHER UPDATE: The mainstream media is now completely in on the Witch Hunt for “one bad apple”, who acted “out of order”. Channel 4 has a report here (curiously followed by an interview with “protests police commander Simon O’Brien” lying through his teeth: HE SHOULD BE ARRSTED TOO, FOR DELIBERATELY LYING TO THE PUBLIC TO PROTECT A CRIMINAL!) and the BBC reports that the “Metropolitan Police (Met) has now acknowledged Mr Tomlinson came “into contact with police” before he died.”
Compare the evidence to the first stories from the BBC and SKY (released three hours later; i.e. time for scripting) saying that he died of “natural causes” and that protestors prevented them from providing first aid. What really happened was that the police brutally attacked a random pedestrian and he died consequently.