A demonstration by the group Reclaim the Streets turned violent in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro district Saturday night. Demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails, rocks and bottles at police and smashed several business windows.
Some 200 people took part in the Reclaim the Streets demonstration before things took a turn for the worse in the early hours of Sunday. In addition to the confrontation with police, demonstrators also carried out numerous acts of vandalism.
Police said that they made three arrests in the aftermath.
“We got it stopped a bit after 2am when the demonstrators began digging up cobblestones at Sankt Hans Torv. Three people were arrested. One of them had a knife, one had a bludgeon and the other was someone we were already looking for,” Copenhagen Police spokesman Henrik Brix told news agency Ritzau.
According to a former far-left activist, the evening’s violent turn was a result of how Copenhagen Police have handled the Islam-critical group Pegida, which has been staging regular but poorly attended demonstrations for months.
Erik Storrud, a former activist who now writes for the left-wing news site Modkraft, told Berlingske that police were consistently aggressive toward Pegida’s counter-protestors.
“It’s as if the police have punished one side really hard while they have let the other group be in peace and many feel as though [the police] have used unnecessary violence and power. There have been instances in which counter-demonstrators have tried to block the streets from the Pegida marchers but have been hit with batons by the police,” Storrud said.
Justice Minister Søren Pind vowed a “historically hard” response to the Saturday night unrest.
“I will sit down with the police and prosecutors before long and take a look at this case and at these people,” Pind wrote on Facebook.
“I will stand behind an historically hard line toward this kind of behaviour. So now I’ve said it and the warning has been given. There is plenty of space in the prisons these days,” he added.
Videos from the unrest can be seen in the videos below, courtesy of Local Eyes DK.