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Danish nationalist charged with racism for 'refugee spray'

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Danish nationalist charged with racism for 'refugee spray'
The Danes' Party's handed out 137 cans of their 'refugee spray'. Photo: Daniel Carlsen/ Danskernes Parti
09:48 CEST+02:00
Daniel Carlsen, the leader of the nationalist Danes' Party (Danskernes Parti) has been charged with violating Denmark's racism law by handing out cans of ‘refugee spray'.
In a stunt that elicited strong emotions and attracted international attention, Carlsen took to the streets of Haderslev in southern Jutland to distribute over 100 cans of what he called ‘refugee spray'. 
 
The cans actually contained hair spray but were relabelled as an “effective” and “legal” means for Danes to protect themselves from refugees and asylum seekers. 
 
On Wednesday, South Jutland Police confirmed to TV Syd that a racism charge had been filed against Carlsen. 
 
Carlsen, a former member of a Nazi party, said the police charge was “political theatre”. 
 
“I think it is a very, very weak case. We handed out hairspray with a sticker on it so I doubt that anything at all comes out of the charges,” he told news agency Ritzau. 
 
He added that the police likely acted on “political pressure” from parliament. 
 
Carlsen said that the cans of ‘refugee spray' were meant to help people feel safe in Haderslev, where a migrant centre currently houses around 140 asylum seekers, according to the Danish Red Cross.
 
Earlier this year, there were reports of local women being harassed by refugees and asylum seekers at the centre. 
 
“There is a sense of insecurity, including in Haderslev, where we have experienced a rape committed by an asylum seeker and that is the insecurity that we are trying to do something about,” he told TV Syd while handing out the cans last month. 
 
Denmark's so-called ‘racism paragraph' often leads to formal police complaints. Convictions, however, are somewhat rare. On Thursday, prosecutors said that no formal charges would be pursued against a Danish People's Party (DF) politician who was reported for racism after she said that foreigners "cheat, they steal, they rape and they kill".
 
Another DF politician Alex Ahrendtsen, was formally reported to police for racism on Monday over remarks he made about Muslims. He contended that the racism paragraph has become a political tool. 
 
“People use the [racism] paragraph as a tool to shut the mouths of politicians and it is always rejected by the police,” he told TV2 over the summer. 
 
Recent exemptions include a Danish People's Party politician being convicted of racism for comparing Muslims to Hitler. A Lolland man who spit on refugees also recently accepted a 5,000 kroner fine to avoid his racism case going to court.
 
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