Police, Christiania trade blame over violent demo

Following Friday night’s clash outside of Christiania, Copenhagen Police and residents of the alternative enclave have different versions of how a demonstration turned violent.

Police, Christiania trade blame over violent demo
Friday night's unrest outside of Christiania. Screenshot: Cadok/YouTube
A Friday night demonstration in Christianshavn took a turn for the worse outside of Christiania at around 10pm. There is agreement on that much, but police and representatives from the self-proclaimed ‘freetown’ disagree on how the trouble started. 
The demonstration was organized by the group Reclaim the Streets, which took credit for a violent demo in Nørrebro in August. When police met the group near Christiania, it was met with Molotov cocktails and bricks and in response fired tear gas at the demonstrators and brought in heavy vehicles to clear barricades. 
A police spokesman told TV2 that the violence actually had nothing to do with the Reclaim the Streets group but instead came from within Christiania, where organized criminal groups control the illicit cannabis market. 
But the Christiania-based documentary group Cadok, released a video and its version of events on Monday and said that the police explanation was pure “manipulation”. 
“Copenhagen Police press spokesman Lars Krabbe claims that the demonstrators from ‘Reclaim the Streets’ and the disturbance in and around Christiania have nothing to do with each other and that it was anarchists and ‘guards’ from Christiania who started the disturbance. We call that political manipulation and lies of the worst kind,” Cadok wrote. 
“Christiania does not support a policy of violence. Therefore, we are very sorry to be used as a battleground by the police and frustrated and angry people from the entire city,” the group added. 
The group said that the police action was meant to influence an upcoming meeting in Christiania in which residents are scheduled to discuss Pusher Street, the centre of the alternative enclave’s bustling cannabis business which is estimated to generate one billion kroner per year. 
Four people were arrested during Friday night's unrest. 

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Denmark says 450 extra police officers will strengthen response to rape, assault and break-ins

Victims of violence and rape in Denmark are Monday today guaranteed police offers will be dispatched to assist if they need acute help.

A file photo of a police motorcycle. A new Danish police guarantee requires officers to be dispatched to attend all reports of assault and rape as well as locations of break-ins.
A file photo of a police motorcycle. A new Danish police guarantee requires officers to be dispatched to attend all reports of assault and rape as well as locations of break-ins. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

Police are also now required to attend addresses within 24 hours after reports of a break-in.

The new standards are included in a new “police guarantee” confirmed by the Ministry of Justice in a statement. The guarantee was included in the police funding bill voted through by parliament in December 2020.

Justice minister Nick Hækkerup said that police can meet that guarantee, pointing to the provision in the police bill to add 450 officers to Denmark’s police forces during the course of 2021, 2022 and 2023.

But the trade union for the police, Politiforbundet, says that the total police force must be increased by 5,000 officers if the guarantee is to be lived up to.

“I am completely confident in relation to the extra resources which will be added to the police in coming years being enough to fulfil the guarantee,” Hækkerup said.

“I want to see their calculations,” the minister said in relation to the police union’s number.

“That is equivalent to us needing to increase our police staffing by 50 percent to be able to meet the guarantee we have set,” he added.

The police union has also criticised the guarantee because they see it could result in other tasks being delayed.

“Then there wouldn’t be enough resources for tasks like domestic incidents, traffic accidents and mentally ill member of the public,” the union’s leader Heino Kegel said.

Hækkerup rejected the suggestion resources would be pulled away from other areas.

“It’s not as if this is a completely new task. It’s a task we already undertake,” he said.

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