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
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