Copenhagen holds memorial for mall shooting victims

Thousands gathered in Copenhagen on Tuesday to pay tribute to the victims of a weekend mall shooting that left three people dead, including two teenagers.

Copenhagen holds memorial for mall shooting victims
Thousands gathered at the memorial by Field's shopping mall on 5th July 2022. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

“Three lives were taken from us. A man and two young people. Several were injured, the attack has many victims,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told the massive crowd outside the Field’s shopping complex, where the attack occurred.

“Cruel, unjust and senseless. Tonight, we all mourn,” Frederiksen added, as she called for unity in face of the tragedy.

Crown Prince Frederik, Prince Christian and Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen attend a memorial service for the victims of the shooting in Copenhanen on Tuesday 5th July 2022.

Crown Prince Frederik, Prince Christian and Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at the memorial service for the victims of the shooting in Copenhagen on Tuesday 5th July 2022. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

The late afternoon shooting on Sunday shook Copenhagen, which had just hosted the opening stages of the Tour de France cycling competition and seen the return of the Roskilde music festival after cancellations for Covid-19.

“It’s not hard to imagine ‘what if it was my child?’, I’m the mother of two teenagers,” Sophie Andersen, mayor of Copenhagen said during an address which was followed by a moment of silence.

“Children and young people should not die. They should be immortal,” Andersen added.

Denmark’s Crown Prince Frederik was also in attendance at the service where speeches were interspersed with musical performances.

A woman lays flowers before a memorial service in front of the shopping centre Field's in Copenhagen where a shooting took place. July 5th, 2022.

Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix
‘I’m quite ambivalent’

The mood was sombre, with some crying among the many families and young people that had gathered.

“I’m quite ambivalent. Of course it’s nice to see all these people who are here to support the people who have been hurt by this action, but I’m also a little scared,” Oliver Stoltz, who works in a sporting goods store at the mall, told AFP.

The 24-year-old was at Field’s — located in Ørestad, between the city centre and airport — when the shooting started and heard the first shots ring out.

A memorial service for the victims of the shooting in Copenhagen, 5th July 2022.
Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

“This used to be a place where I can go to work, be happy and have a good time. Now I dread even coming out here to this part of town,” he said.

The alleged perpetrator of the attack, a 22-year-old Danish man who authorities say was known to mental health services, was remanded in custody in a “closed psychiatric ward” on Monday on murder charges.

Police said on Tuesday they had no new information to release about the investigation.

Thousands of people attend a memorial for the victims of the Copenhagen shooting on 5th July 2022.Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

Troubled childhood

According to public broadcaster DR, citing several unnamed sources, the suspected gunman had tried to reach a psychological help line shortly before the attack, but authorities would not confirm this.

According to a former neighbour interviewed by newspaper Berlingske, the suspect had been troubled since he was a child.

The neighbour, who had asked to remain anonymous, told the paper that in school the suspect had difficulties coping with the stress of too many people around him.

The 22-year-old is suspected of three murders, with those killed being a 46-year-old Russian man residing in Denmark, a 17-year-old girl and a young man of the same age, both Danish.

One of them worked in the cinema in the shopping centre, their employer said.

The suspect also faces seven counts of attempted murder. Four of those shot were seriously injured but in a stable condition.

According to authorities, they are two Danish women aged 19 and 40, a 50-year-old Swedish man and a 19-year-old Swedish woman.

Three others sustained light injuries from the gunfire: two Danish girls aged 15 and 17 and a 45-year-old Afghan man living in Denmark.

The Field’s shopping centre has been closed since the attack and is expected to reopen on 11th July.

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Copenhagen installation critiques lack of women statues

Fifty white pedestals without statues have been erected in Copenhagen to draw attention to the lack of historical women represented in the public domain in Denmark.

Copenhagen installation critiques lack of women statues
“In Denmark, there are 2,500 statues. And only 28 of those statues are of women, which…is about one percent,” said Svante Lindeburg, the head of the Golden Days festival which organised the temporary installation “50 Queens”.
“We want that to change”, he told AFP.
He acknowledged that it wasn’t possible to change the city landscape overnight, but “what we can do is forward that agenda”.
“So we created the 50 pedestals, and we named 50 women to be on those pedestals”, he said.

The pillars are statue-less to emphasise the lack of recognition for women, despite Denmark being a bastion of feminism.
The pedestals are located in one of central Copenhagen’s most emblematic locations, Kongens Nytorv — which means “The King’s New Square” — positioned so they encircle a statue of King Christian V mounted on horseback.
The spot has been symbolically re-named “The Queen’s Square” for two weeks.

The women honoured include author Karen Blixen (1885-1962), painter and one of the country’s first transgender women to undergo sex reassignment surgery Lili Elbe (1882-1931), and 16th century scientist Sophie Brahe.
Forty-nine personalities were chosen by a jury among hundreds of extraordinary women, with the public tasked with choosing the 50th woman. That pillar is the only one not painted white, instead covered in mirrored glass.  
Architect Louise Mould, who helped create the installation that opened on September 2nd, said the mirrored pillar also represents everyone.
Everyone ought “to be able to stand up there and look at themselves, look at their friends … look at the people that surround them and realise that they can have as much importance in the world as the women represented here”, she told AFP.
Scanning QR codes placed on the pillars, visitors can learn about innkeeper Maren Splids, burned at the stake for witchcraft at the start of the 18th century, as well as activist and women’s rights pioneer Maria Engelbrecht Stokkenbech (born in 1759), writer Tove Ditlevsen (1917-1976) and singer Natasja Saad (1974-2007).
The pedestals honour deceased women only, and vary in height from around 50 centimetres to three metres.
“It’s a very good idea that all the women portrayed here are from different backgrounds, they come from different professions. It shows that women have made an impact on every part of society for always”, visitor Caroline Virklund told AFP.
“It is about time the focus is put on these women and that they are given a place, a very public place in the centre of Copenhagen,” added Louise, a 28-year-old historian.
In the Danish capital, only seven historical statues commemorate women, compared to 65 for men and 12 for animals, according to city hall.
Inaugurated by Queen Margrethe II as part of the official celebrations for her golden jubilee this weekend, the installation will be in place until September 18th but some pedestals are due to go on display in other parts of Denmark after that.