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Copenhagen shootings
As it happened: Denmark mourns terror victims
Thousands have gathered in central Copenhagen to remember the victims of last weekend's terror attacks. Photo: TT

As it happened: Denmark mourns terror victims

The Local · 16 Feb 2015, 19:46

Published: 16 Feb 2015 17:31 GMT+01:00
Updated: 16 Feb 2015 19:46 GMT+01:00

KEY POINTS

  • Two killed and five injured in two separate shootings 
  • First attack was at a free speech event at a cafe and second was at the city's largest synagogue 
  • Police shot and killed the suspected gunman, identified as a 22-year-old man born and raised in Denmark
  • Two additional men charged in connection with shootings
  • Danish PM classified shootings as 'terror' and international leaders condemned attack.
  • Around 30,000 people turn out for a rally in Copenhagen to commemorate the shooting victims on Monday evening, according to police.
  • Speaking at a memorial service for the victims, Danish PM expressed solidarity with Denmark's Jewish community as well as those of other religions

Timeline of Copenhagen attacks: Terror into the night

Update, 9:22pm

That concludes our live coverage for today. Be sure to check The Local Denmark tomorrow for more updates and reaction.

Update, 9:17pm

Johan Harbou just tweeted this poster which uses work by the British graffiti artist Stik.

Update, 9:10pm

This just in from AFP:

The turnout at the gathering Monday evening, happening in chilly darkness, was large by Danish standards.

"There are about 30,000 at the venue, as many as we expected," a police spokesman told AFP about the gathering.

Update, 9:08pm

"Scandinavian solidarity shows itself. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven dries tears from his eyes as Koppel and Koppel perform," tweeted union activist Anders Friis-Hansen.

Update, 9:06pm

The crowds in Copenhagen seem to be getting larger by the minute as this photo shows.

Update, 9:03pm

Earlier in the day, the president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz said that the Copenhagen shootings struck “at core of what makes us European: diversity, tolerance and freedom”. Many of those values feel reflected in tonight’s rally.

Update, 8:59pm

The crowd is now being given a rendition of Bridge over Troubled Waters, sung by Marie Carmen Koppel and Benjamin Koppel.

Update, 8:54pm

Many other European countries are reflecting on anti-Semitism in the wake of the Copenhagen shootings. While the memorial has been going on, British newspaper The Guardian has posted this article with the first line: “It can happen here, nobody can be sure that it won’t”.

Earlier in the day, The Local Sweden spoke to Jews and Muslims in Stockholm about their fears.

Update, 8:52pm

The head of the Danish police federation is now talking. "I want to thank the whole of Denmark for the fantastic support the police have been given."

Update, 8:48pm

Danish tweeter Pia Vigh has really captured the crowds in this photo and is using a new hashtag #cphlove. Wonder if it will start trending?

Update, 8:37pm

The French ambassador to Denmark François Zimeray - who was at the café where the shooting took place - is now addressing the crowd.

"Dear friends, there are moments in your life that are turning points. There is a before and after. This is true for an individual as it is for a nation. This is one of those nights.

"I would like to express gratitude to the Danish policemen. Without their courage I would not be here."

He added: “Human rights are not only the cause of states or institutions. They depend all over the world on activists. It is our duty to protect them.”

He described the Copenhagen attacks as a “mirror” of the shootings in Paris in January when 17 people died. “France and Denmark share the same tragedy. But they are like a mirror. Both tragedies reflect each other in perfect symmetry.”

Update, 8:31pm

Sweden’s Home Affairs Minister is among the foreign politicians attending tonight’s memorial service. He posted a photo of himself laying flowers a few hours ago. 

Update, 8:23pm

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt: "An attack on Denmark's Jews is an attack on Denmark, on all of us.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder, Jews, Muslims, Christians. We stand together as Danes."

She added: "We stand shoulder to shoulder, Jews, Muslims, Christians. We stand together as Danes."

She also delivered a message in English to those who had travelled to Copenhagen specially for the memorial: "We are so very grateful for all the support that we have felt. Thank you all, and thank you for all those of you who have travelled from abroad tonight to join us in this moment of commemoration."

The Local Denmark's Editor Justin Cremer is at the scene:

Update, 8:22pm

British Daily Mirror writer Tom Parry is among those who have urged tourists not to boycott Scandinavia after the Copenhagen shootings. 

Freelance journalist Sean Coogan is also tweeting from outside the cafe where the memorial is taking place. He describes the atmosphere as "moving".

Update, 8:20pm

Copenhagen mayor Frank Jensen has just addressed the crowds followed by a minute's silence. Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt is now speaking.

Update, 8:18pm

Danish singer Pernille is singing John Lennon's 'Imagine' for the crowds in Copenhagen:

Update, 8:11pm

Update, 8:08pm

Jonas Heide Smith, who works at the Danish National Gallery took this emotive snap from among the crowds gathered at the rally in the Østerbro area of Copenhagen, close to Krudttønden Café, where the first shootings took place.

Update, 8:06pm

Freelance British journalist Alex Forrest has snapped this photo of people gathering for the main memorial service.

Update, 8:03pm

Maddy Savage, Editor of The Local Sweden

According to social media site trendsmap, the hashtags #cphshooting, #copenhagen and #dkpol have been trending all day in Denmark. #judar (Jews) and #antisemiska (anti-semitism) have been trending in Sweden, reflecting fears that violence could spread into the more northerly Nordic nation.

Update, 7:57pm

“May the past day bring out the best in us. Not the worst”. TV presenter Ulla Essendrop sums up the feelings of many Danes.

Update, 7:53pm

The Local Denmark's Editor Justin Cremer @justinCPH is on his way to the largest of the memorial services, next to the Copenhagen cafe where the first shooting happened. He'll be tweeting live from the scene.

Update, 7:46pm

The attacks might have claimed mercifully few lives compared with last month’s atrocities in Paris, but people across Denmark have been shocked by what they saw. People are gathering in small and large towns across the country to show their solidarity.

A local politician in Aarhus, Denmark’s second city, posted this tweet from a memorial ceremony in the city. “Big turnout and sense of community,” she says.

And this was the scene at 7:30pm in Odense, from the camera of local high school student Søren Thomsen:

And this comes from Claire Holt in Svendborg in central Denmark:

Update, 7:41pm

According to the Facebook event, around 21 thousand people are expected to show up in Copenhagen's Østerbro area to remember the two terror attack victims tonight.

Update, 7:33pm                                                                                                                                                                   

This just in from AFP:

The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Centre on Monday said it feared the recent attacks against Jews in Copenhagen and Paris could be the start of a "pan-European epidemic" as it called for a Europe-wide conference against anti-Semitism.

The prominent Jewish rights group said the shootings in Copenhagen on Saturday followed the same pattern as the Islamist attacks in Paris last month, and were directed at "freedom of expression activists, police and Jewish institutions".

"Paris and Copenhagen are bound to be precedents for a pan-European epidemic. Condemnation is insufficient," the group said in the statement, addressed to European Council President Donald Tusk.

It called on Tusk to organize a conference to "combat anti-Semitism on every front".

The weekend attacks saw a gunman kill a 37-year-old Jewish man outside a synagogue as well as a 55-year-old film-maker attending a debate on Islam and freedom of the press at a cultural centre. The gunman was later shot dead by police.

The attacks came just over a month after the January 7th-9th shootings in Paris that left 17 people dead, including a policewoman and four Jews at a kosher supermarket.

Update, 6.01pm
Lars Vilks, the controversial Swedish cartoonist believed to have been targeted in the first of the two Copenhagen shootings has gone into hiding indefinitely, a police spokeswoman said on Monday.

Vilks' home in Höganäs, in southern Sweden, "is not a safe place. And he needs to be in a safe place," Ewa-Gun Westford told AFP.
 
READ MORE: Swedish cartoonist in hiding after shootings

Update, Monday 5.42pm
Denmark's Ambassador to Sweden has told The Local Sweden that it is "futile" to worry about future terror attacks in Scandinavia, but confirmed that she feels there is a "specific threat" against Jews in Denmark.

Update, Monday 5.31pm
A group of young men wearing hoods to partially cover their faces has removed flowers that were laid at the Copenhagen spot where the presumed gunman was killed by police.

The men can be seen in a video from TV2 News kicking the flowers and carrying them away. 

One of the men told reporters that they removed the flowers because it is not a Muslim tradition to lay flowers for dead people. 

Update, Monday 5.07pm
As debates rage around Europe about growing anti-Semitism in the wake of the Copenhagen synagogue shooting, a Jewish man who wore a kippah for a day in Paris has released a video showing how he was cursed at, spat on, and followed, as reported by The Local France.

Flowers laid where Omar El-Hussein was killed have created controversy. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Scanpix
Flowers laid where Omar El-Hussein was killed have created controversy. Photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Scanpix

Update, Monday 3.42pm
Dozens of bouquets of flowers were left Monday at the site in Copenhagen where the suspected gunman behind two fatal shootings at the weekend was killed by police.

An AFP reporter saw several people laying flowers outside the building in the inner-city neighbourhood of Noerrebro where Omar El-Hussein was shot dead.
 
An elderly woman, who brought flowers but did not wish to be identified, said "the boy didn't know what he was doing."
 
Nicolaus Lambert, who also laid a bouquet at the site, told AFP he wanted to show "forgiveness."
 
The scene attracted a small group of onlookers but many more passed by with only a quick glance at the mounting pile of blossoms.
 
"What [the gunman] did was wrong," said one of the onlookers, Mohammed, who didn't give his last name.
 
Others seemed less understanding. 
 
“Flowers for a despicable coward on Svanevej. This is a photo no one wants to see. It shows that there is unfortunately an ‘us’ and ‘them’. The essential thing is then is who is ‘us’ and ‘them’. Time and discussion will show,” leading Venstre politician Søren Pind wrote on Facebook, posting a photo of the flower display. 
 
Update, Monday 3.02pm
PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt's short press briefing concludes.

Update, Monday 2.58pm

Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt advised Danish Jews not to emigrate Monday despite a call from her Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu for European Jews to move to Israel.

"The Jewish community have been in this country for centuries. They belong in Denmark, they are part of the Danish community and we wouldn't be the same without the Jewish community in Denmark," she told reporters. 
 
In response to a question from Haaretz, Thorning-Schmidt said that security at Danish synagogues had been increased after the January attacks in Paris.
Update, Monday 2.50pm
 
Press briefing with PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt underway:

Update, Monday, 2.34pm 

Danish Jews have turned down an offer by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to emigrate to Israel. "We're very grateful for Netanyahu's concern but having said that, we are Danish -- we're Danish Jews but we're Danish -- and it won't be terror that makes us go to Israel," a spokesman for the Jewish Community in Denmark Jeppe Juhl told the AFP news agency. 

Update, Monday 2.25pm

Police also confirmed at the briefing that two people have been held on remand in connection with the deadly attacks. They are suspected of aiding the gunman

Update, Monday 2.21pm

Fresh pictures of the attacker have emerged. Police are asking witnesses to come forward with any information that might aid the investigation. 

Update, Monday 2.14pm
While Danish police spoke to journalists in Copenhagen, The Local Sweden took to the streets of Stockholm to see if people felt more concerned about terrorism following the weekend's attacks over the border. 

Update, Monday 2.12pm
Copenhagen police say they will only reveal the perpetrator's identity when they are ready to do so. The short briefing is now over. 

Update, Monday 2.10pm
Police say they have released pictures of the perpetrator and are looking for witnesses to come forward. Mainly interested in learning if he was alone. Police also explained why they raided an internet cafe in Nørrebro: they believe the perpetrator was there at some point before the attacks. 

Update, Monday 2.04pm
Police briefing: All five police officers injured in the attacks are recovering well. 

Update, Monday 1.04pm
Due to massive interest, tonight's memorial in Copenhagen has been relocated to Gunnar Nu Hansens Plads, adjacent to Fælledparken and just a short distance from Krudttønden, the scene of the first shooting. Some 16,000 people have registered for the event, which begins at 8pm. Memorial services have also been scheduled for Aalborg, Aarhus, Hørsholm, Esbjerg and Odense. 

Copenhagen Police have scheduled a press briefing for 2pm, while Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt has invited the foreign press to a 2.30pm press conference.

Update, Monday 12.20pm
The two men who were arrested earlier today have now been charged with helping the attacker get rid of his weapon and giving him somewhere to hide. More here

Update, Monday 11.20am
Tributes to the film director and Jewish man killed in Copenhagen are being left at Danish embassies around the world. The Local Sweden's reporter Emma Löfgren is currently gathering reaction in Stockholm.

Update, Monday 10.10am
Police in Sweden say they have beefed up security in response to Copenhagen attacks. A spokesperson for Sweden's Home Affairs Minister Anders Ygeman has confirmed to The Local that he is travelling to the Danish capital to participate in a memorial at the cafe where the first shooting took place on Saturday.

Update, Monday 9.12am: Two detained for possibly assisting gunman
Copenhagen police said on Monday morning they had detained two men suspected of aiding the 22-year-old gunman who killed two people over the weekend.

"The two men are suspected of aiding and abetting the perpetrator in connection with the shooting attacks at Krudttønden [cultural centre] and [the synagogue] in Krystalgade," police said in a statement. More here
 
Update, Sunday, 7.36pm
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned Sunday the deadly attacks in Copenhagen and called on society to stand up for tolerance and free expression.
Ban "strongly condemns the shooting attacks ... The United Nations stands in solidarity with the people and authorities of Denmark," said Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the United Nations' top official.
 
British Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the Copenhagen shootings as an "appalling attack on free speech and religious freedom", while the United States branded them "deplorable".

Update, 6.24pm: Suspect identified by police

Copenhagen Police have identified the presumed gunman in the two fatal shootings that have rocked Copenhagen. According to police, the subject was born in Denmark, is 22 years old and is previously known to the police. He has been involved in weapons violations and violence and has ties to the gang environment. More here

Update, 4.37pm:

Copenhagen Police have raided an internet cafe in Nørrebro as part of a vast Copenhagen operation, according to media reports. Two people were arrested but police have not yet said if the arrests are related to the deadly shootings. 

Update, 4.00pm: Statement from the Queen

Denmark's Queen Margrethe II has released the following statement:

“It is with sorrow that I learn of the extent of the incidents of the last 24 hours. My thoughts go out to the killed film director and the young security guard from the Jewish community who became targets of the perpetrator’s acts. I send my deepest sympathy to the relatives and to the wounded police officers.
 
"I wish to direct thanks to the police and the authorities for their quick and effective efforts.

"It is important that we, in such a serious situation, stand together and uphold the values that Denmark is founded upon.”

Update, 3.13pm: Timeline of events

The past 24 hours have been chaotic. Here is a timeline of events on the two shooting incidents that left two dead and five injured:

Update, 1.36pm: Inspired by Charlie Hebdo attacks

The suspected perpetrator of two fatal shootings in Copenhagen may have been inspired by the Islamist attacks in Paris a month ago, Danish police said Sunday.

The man, who was killed in a shootout with police earlier in the day "may have been inspired by the events that took place in Paris a few weeks ago," Jens Madsen from the Security and Intelligence Service told reporters. Read more here
 
Update, 12.23pm: Cafe victim identified

The victim of Saturday’s shooting attack at a cafe in Copenhagen has been identified as 55-year-old Finn Nørgaard, a Danish filmmaker. 
The cafe shooting victim was originally reported as a 40-year-old Danish man, but has now been identified as Nørgaard. 

“Finn was an original; a incredibly warmhearted and very spiritual type. Tall and handsome. It is hard for me to say more about it know,” the victim’s friend Majken Matzau told Ekstra Bladet. 

Update, 12.03pm: Netanyahu urges Danish Jews to move to Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged European Jews to move to Israel after a Jewish man was killed in an attack outside Copenhagen's main synagogue.

"Israel is your home. We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe," Netanyahu said in a statement, repeating a similar call made after bloody attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris last month that killed 17 people, including four Jews.
 
Update, 8.33am
Police say that the man they shot and killed close to Nørrebro station in Copenhagen shortly after 5am is presumed to be the perpetrator of two fatal attacks. Police said video surveillance indicated the man was behind both killings, one which took place at a panel discussion about Islam and free speech, and the other outside Copenhagen's main synagogue.

Update, 7.16am

Danish police have confirmed that officers shot and killed a man close to Nørrebro station in Copenhagen shortly after 5am. The police are investigating whether the man is behind the shootings at the Lars Vilks conference.

Further shots are reported to have been fired at a synagogue in Copenhagen at around 1am. One man, reported to be a member of the Jewish congregation, was shot dead and two police officers sustained gunshot wounds.

This brings the casualties to three dead and six injured.

The man shot outside the Østerbro cafe/theatre in Krundttønden is confirmed to be 55-years-old and not 40 as previously reported.

Swedish police have tightened surveillance of the border with Denmark at the Öresund bridge during the night.

Update, 11.08pm
Swedish artist Lars Vilks has told the AP that he believes that he was the intended target of Saturday's shooting that left one dead and three injured. 

"What other motive could there be?," the artist, who is best known for drawing a picture of the Prophet Muhammad with the head of a dog, told AP. Vilks added that he thought the Copenhagen shooting was likely "inspired by Charlie Hebdo".

A columnist for Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French weekly that was the target of a terror attack in Paris that left 12 dead, has lent his support to Denmark in the aftermath of Saturday's shooting, saying "We are all Danish tonight"

Note to readers, this concludes The Local's updates on the Copenhagen shootings until Sunday morning. 

Update, 10.33pm

The 40-year-old Danish man who was killed in Saturday’s attack at a religion and free speech event in Copenhagen was shot from close range outside of the Østerbro cafe/theatre Krundttønden, witnesses say. 

“I saw a man with a machine gun shoot him from close range. It was less than a metre’s distance,” a witness who did not want to be named told Politiken. 

Update, 9.32pm
 
Copenhagen Police continue to hunt for the suspect in Saturday's terror attack at a Copenhagen event on 'Art, Blasphemy and Freedom of Expression' that left one dead and three police officers injured. Both Swedish and German police are helping with the manhunt.

BBC has released chilling audio of the shooting. In the clip, which can be heard here, around 40-50 shots can be heard.

Copenhagen deputy mayor Anna Allerslev wrote on Twitter that a memorial will be held outside of the Østerbro cafe/theatre Krudttønden on Monday at 8pm. 

Update, 8.23pm

Copenhagen Police now say that they believe just one gunman was behind the shooting at a Copenhagen cafe that left one dead and three police officers injured.

They released the following photo of the suspect: 

Update, 7.48pm: Police release physical description

Police have released a physical description of one of the shooting suspects. 

He is described as:
 
“Male, 25-30 years old, around 185cm tall, athletic build with an Arabic appearance but with lighter skin than normal and with black, slick hair. He was wearing a black or dark blue ski coat with matching pants and presumably gloves. He had covered the bottom part of his face all the way up to the eyes with a guerrilla scarf in yellow/orange and red.”

“He had a black black machine gun/machine rifle. Witnesses described it as 90-100cm long, completely black and plastic-looking.”

Update, 7.33: Statement from PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Danish PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt released a statement in which she said the following:

“Denmark was today hit by a cold-blooded act of terror. Everything points toward the shooting in Østerbro being a political assassination attempt and thus an act of terror.” 

“Police are out in full force across the country. We are using all of our resources. The authorities’ first priority here and now is to catch the perpetrators." 
 
“The shooting is an action that fills me with deep anger. We will do everything to find the guilty parties and bring them before a court.”
 
“We have some tough days ahead of us in which our solidarity will be tested. But in Denmark, we will never yield to violence.”
 
Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen also released a statement via Twitter: 

Update, 7.09pm: PET says shooting was "planned"

At a short press conference, a Copenhagen Police spokesman said that given Swedish artist Lars Vilk's participation, it is "very natural" to assume that Saturday's shooting in Copenhagen was a terror attack and is being investigated as such. 

Upon the conclusion of the press conference, a press release from the Danish Security and Intelligence Agency (PET) said the shooting seemed planned.
 
"Everything points toward this being planned and the circumstances surrounding the shooting point toward a terror attack. The attack proves that the terror threat against Denmark continues to be serious," the PET press release said.
 
Police were sparse about the possible identity of the two gunmen, saying only that it was "two men in dark coats". 

Update, 6.18pm: The civilian killed in Saturday's shooting attack was a 40-year-old Danish citizen, police have said. Police added that they have founded the suspected getaway vehicle but two suspects are still at large. 

Update, 6.08pm: Reports of up to 200 shots fired

The French ambassdor to Denmark told AFP from inside the venue that shots rang out in the midst of a debate on Islam and free speech in Copenhagen. 

"They fired on us from the outside. It was the same intention as [the January 7 attack on] Charlie Hebdo except they didn't manage to get in," Francois Zimeray said by telephone.

Swedish artist Lars Vilks, the author of controversial Prophet Mohammed cartoons published in 2007 that sparked worldwide protests, was also at the debate.
 
Three police officers were reported wounded outside the building, Danish media reported, quoting eyewitnesses.
 
Zimeray said earlier on Twitter that he was not harmed.
 
"Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200," he told AFP.
 
"Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor. We managed to flee the room, and now we're staying inside because it's still dangerous. The attackers haven't been caught and they could very well still be in the neighbourhood."
 
A Femen activist, Inna Shevshenko, said on Twitter that there were several dozen people in the room.
 
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius condemned the attack, saying in a statement that France "remains by the side of the Danish authorties and people in the fight against terrorism."
 
Vilks has been under police protection since his 2007 cartoons were published.
 
The French president's office said Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was headed to the scene.

Update, 5.57pm

Police have confirmed that one civilian has died and three police officers are wounded. Police continue to hunting for two suspected gunmen in a dark Volkswagen Polo. The suspects were said to be wearing all black and speaking Danish.

Vilks himself was unhurt in the attack. 

Police say they believe Vilks, known for his depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, was the target of the attack. He was attending a debate on the theme of ‘Art, blasphemy and freedom of speech’ at the Krudttønden cultural centre in the Østerbro area of the Danish capital. The attack took place after a speech by the French Ambassador to Denmark.

Delegate Dennis Meyhoff Brink, a satire researcher, told Jyllands Posten that he heard 30 shots over a two minute period. Danish security police then ordered everyone to remain inside. According to reports, the focus of the attack was on the entrance to the building, and the gunman did not enter the main hall.

“[Security police] came running through the room brandishing guns, and they took Lars Vilks out a back door.”

According to Brink, the shots were fired just as the French Ambassador, François Zimeray, had finished speaking. Zimeray immediately took to Twitter to confirm that he was still alive:

Copenhagen police confirmed to the Berlingske newspaper that three officers were wounded in the shooting and that two suspected gunmen were at large. The suspects wore black and spoke Danish.
 
The meeting was held under tight security, with delegates subject to searches as they entered the building. 
 
The newspaper Ekstra Bladet writes that the police are treating the attack as an act of terrorism.
 
Helle Merete Blix, one of the organizers of the meeting, told Danish channel TV2 News that the meeting continued following the drama:
 
"We couldn't get away, so the debate meeting carried on," she said.

For more news from Denmark, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.no)

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