Christiania evictions spark riots in Copenhagen

Gerrard Winstanley news at
Thu Oct 30 00:32:35 GMT 2008

Christiania evictions spark riots in Copenhagen

Two videos from over last 24 hours

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.


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

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.


Danish Timeline and original images

Corporate Media Video

Christiania you have my Heart, Documentary 1991 (google video)

Various Christiania residents' home pages

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