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Eviction of Danish social centre fuels anger across Europe

The occupied house in Copenhagen, Denmark named 'Ungdomshuset' has functioned as a very important political and social cultural centre since 1982. It had been involved in a long political and legal battle for its existance. But yesterday morning at around 7am Danish police and danish Anti-Terror forces made an end to this by entering the roof of the building using a helicopter and start an unannouced full scale eviction. Riot-police sealed off nearby streets quickly and attacked the building using teargas. As the whole area was closed off, so documenting the action and police-behaviour was difficult. Some witnesses say that teargas and police violence was plentiful, although the eviction happened swiftly and according to police in a 'relatively calm manner'.
At the moment everything is but calm. Over 1000 people are reported to be back onto the streets last night and (burning) barricades blocked off some major roads in the city. Over 160 people have been reported to have been arrested, including 17 of non-danish nationality. Some people have been admitted to hospital. Riots have continued throughout the day and night and solidarity actions spontaniosly broke out in cities across europe: Berlin (300+), Köln, Hamburg (700+), München, Karlsruhe, Göttingen, Frankfurt, Bremen (300+), Magdeburg, Hannover, Vienna, Heidelberg, Gothenburg, Oslo, Helsinki, Stockholm (100+), Flensburg, Göttingen, Marburg, Potsdam and Leipzig. In Dresden a building was occupied. Also in London and in Dublin rallys take place. Over the next few days many more demonstrations and actions are planned and Danish activists have called for people to make Saturday 3rd March an international day of action. Danish police have started to draft in re-inforcements from all over the country and many more activists are set to arrive in the capital in the coming days. Meantime an old school in Copenhagen is occupied, as well as a backyard house. The headquarter of the Danish Social Democrats, Copenhagen, is also occupied.

An action has been annouced to take place at the Danish Embassy in London on Friday 2nd March

The basis-democratic, alternative political and cultural centre 'Ungdomshuset' was forcefully evicted by riot police and airborne anti-terror squads this morning. Ensuing demonstrations have seen large-scale confrontations between protestors and heavy-handed police, here is the full story from Copenhagen.

After serious social conflicts and uprisings by the autonomist and squatting movements in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the subsequent 'Ungdomshuset' was offered as part of a political compromise to the activists. The mainly young activists dubbed it 'Ungdomshuset' ('The Youth House'), and started running various cultural and political activities out of there. It has for many years served as one of the only multicultural, basis-democratic collectives/community centres in Copenhagen, with the exception of the Freetown Christiania. Property rights remained in the hands of the local council, which in 1999 decided to disregard the previous political compromise and sell the house to the highest bidder.

In 2003 the fundamentalist Christian sect 'Faderhuset', which had bought the property in 2001 prompted the authorities to evict the 'Ungdomshuset' and its users. Despite many demonstrations in support of 'Ungdomshuset' Faderhuset won the ensuing courtcase and the politicians avoided serious involvement in the conflict, despite the political nature of the case. Many domestic demonstrations saw alleged police brutality and in December an 'Ungdomshuset' demonstration turned into a major confrontation between activists from all over Europe and the police. Subsequently the 'Ungdomshuset' was fortified in order to avoid an eviction and return the issue to the political arena.

This morning at 7:00 AM the anti-terror squad landed on the roof of the 'Ungdomshuset' via helicopters, while later in the day activists from all over Copenhagen rushed to protest the eviction of 'Ungdomshuset', they were met by aggressive policemen in riot gear blocking the street arresting suspected troublemakers with many resulting injuries. The demonstrators fought back and tried to reclaim the 'Ungdomshuset', but were repelled and activists took to the nearby streets and started building barricades, while engaging police in skirmishes.

The neighbourhoods has been entirely shut down by local residents and activists: actions and demonstrations have taken place all over Copenhagen with more planned for the following days and weeks. While sympathisers from all over Europe have been rushing in, although police are attempting to detain suspected activists at the borders. Furthermore solidarity demonstrations are under way in Germany, Norway and Sweden.

The house has functioned as a political and cultural centre, home to political demonstrations, political debates, concerts and many more cultural events since 1982. It has served as a basis-democratic remainder that 'another world is possible' until this morning... The actions of solidarity taking place all over Europe, as well as Russia and Australia are greatly appreciated. Please join in and support the struggle for autonomous commons and the resistance against the neoliberal repression. The homepage of 'Ungdomshuset' has been shot down but a mirror has been set up (in English). Also there is a short video-introduction produced before the eviction.

VIDEO (of the eviction) :  http://politiken.dk/poltv/?ExtID=1349


VIDEO (of the fights against eviction in 2006) :  http://politiken.dk/poltv/?ExtID=1237

:( 02.Mar.2007 10:35

friendly dave

I spent some time there last time I was in Europe. It makes me incredibly sad to see the space being treated like that.

2nd night of riots 03.Mar.2007 01:39

me

After a demonstration of up to 2.000 people in the night from friday to saturday new riots broke out. Police suddenly attacked the demonstration massively with teargas to prevent it from marching towards the evicted youth house. Protesters answered with stones, molotovcocktails, barricades and setting barricades and cars on fire. For today, march 3rd, there is a new big demonstration planned.

Al jazeera reports 03.Mar.2007 04:18

...

At least 170 people are reported to have been arrested during a second night of violent protests in the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

Protesters erected burning barricades and set cars ablaze as hundreds of police officers in riot gear used tear gas to disperse demonstrators protesting against the eviction of squatters from a building. The violence began after protesters gathered near a square a block away from the house from which the squatters were evicted on Thursday. Police moved in "as some demonstrators began grabbing stones and throwing molotov cocktails", Flemming Munch, a police spokesman, said on Saturday. One demonstrator was injured in a confrontation with police in the central Noerrebro district. A bonfire in the street ignited a blaze in a building housing a kindergarten and an adjacent two-story house, but was quickly extinguished and no-one was injured.

Police had been expecting more unrest on Friday night after more than 200 people were taken into custody during clashes on Thursday following the eviction of 35 squatters from a former theatre. More than 200 people were arrested during Thursday's clashes. The central Copenhagen building had become a popular cultural centre for anarchists, punk rockers and left-wing groups, where performers have included Australian musician Nick Cave and Icelandic singer Bjork.

Police borrowed vehicles from neighbouring Sweden to help control the protests and several shops in the area where Thursday's clashes took place had boarded their windows fearing more violence. Munch said the situation was "calming down" on Saturday morning but "it has been a rather busy and sad night".

'Actions' planned

Activists have vowed to keep up protests to win back control of the building. Jan, a spokesman for the centre, told Reuters news agency that they planned to disrupt traffic in the capital with "pin-point actions creating short breakdowns and disruptions. For example, having a dinner party in the street". "The struggle will continue for a long time. As long as there is no Youth House in Copenhagen, there will be a fight to get one"

Two authorised demonstrations are also planned for Saturday. Earlier on Friday, a dozen demonstrators occupied the headquarters of the Social Democratic Party to protest against the eviction and demand that Copenhagen's mayor take action to give the squatters a new house. They left peacefully after a few hours when police ordered them to vacate the building.

The eviction had been planned since last year, when courts ordered the squatters to hand it over to a Christian congregation that bought it six years ago. The squatters refused, saying the city had no right to sell the four-storey building while it was still in use.

raids and arrests this morning 03.Mar.2007 04:54

me

This morning police raided several buildings in copenhagen. For example the building of the ABC (Anarchist Black Cross), a prisoner support group, and arrested everyone in the house. Also the house of the "bumzen"-collective was raided and 42 people arrested. The total number of arrests since the eviction is now by ca. 500. Many foreigeners, among them many germans, are deported immediately...and people looking "left" are under the threat of being searched, deported by the police ect., even if they did nothing.
A new demonstration will start in the next hours in copenhagen. The conversative Danish People's Party has suggested that the military should kick in.

black outs in kopenhagen due to riots - danish states needs swedish police 03.Mar.2007 09:45

x

several black outs caused chaos in kopenhagen, yesterday night.- activists seem to have cut electricity cables.
the danish state asked swedish police for help.

6 videos of the riots on youtube 03.Mar.2007 10:13

xxx


if only 03.Mar.2007 12:06

jail bush cheney rumsfeld rice powell perle joint chiefs

imagine what would be happening if their government was the one to invade iraq. what would it take to get americans into the streets like that? 5.00 gas prices, a wallmart closing, starbucks goes out of business???

america 01.Jun.2009 18:06

Samantha X

violence is not the answer; nor is submitting to a life of convenience.