Danish police brace for new clashes

At least 600 activists have been arrested for protesting against Copenhagen evictions.

    Violence began after protesters gathered near a house from which squatters were evicted[AFP]

    New protests

     

    "If the politicians don't want to give a new house to the young people then the conflict will go on"

    Nikolaj Villumsen, Socialistic Democratic Party

    Media reports spoke of around 50 foreigners, including Germans.

     

    Flemming Steen Munch, a police spokesman, said police were readied for renewed clashes on Saturday night and drafted reinforcements from other districts and borrowed police vans from Sweden.

     

    A new demonstration was planned in the capital at 10 pm (21:00 GMT), activists said. Media reports said protesters were urged via mass cellphone text messages to demonstrate.

     

    A peaceful demonstration was also held on Saturday evening in Copenhagen's multi-ethnic, working class Norrebro district, the focus of recent protests.


    Cultural centre
     
    The central Copenhagen building had become a popular cultural centre for anarchists, punk rockers and left-wing groups, where performers have included Australian musician Nick Cave and Icelandic singer Bjork.

    Several shops in the area, where Thursday's clashes took place, had boarded their windows fearing more violence.
     
    On Friday, a dozen demonstrators occupied the headquarters of the Social Democratic Party to protest against the eviction and demanded that Copenhagen's mayor take action to give the squatters a new house.
     

    More than 600 people have been arrested 
    since Thursday's clashes [EPA]

    Nikolaj Villumsen, a member of the Socialistic Youth Front, told Al Jazeera that he did not support the violence but he believed Denmark needed more youth centres.

     

    "If the politicians don't want to give a new house to the young people then the conflict will go on.

     

    "The Danish government should provide a house for the young people. It will only cost about 12 million Danish krone.

     

    "The government has already spent about 7 million krone in trying to combat the riots."

     
    The eviction had been planned since last year, when courts ordered the squatters to hand it over to a Christian congregation that bought it six years ago.

    The squatters refused, saying the city had no right to sell the four-storey building while it was still in use.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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