Police raid activists sleeping quarters in the middle of the night

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

At the night of 8th December at 3 am, around 200 police officers raided the Ragnhildgade centre in Northern Copenhagen where activists of the Climate & Social Justice Caravan were staying during the Copenhagen climate talks. The police surrounded the building where the activists were sleeping and proceeded to confiscate a number of tools and materials, before leaving at around 4am.

Tannie Nyboe, of Climate Justice Action said, “It’s completely disproportionate for the police to come in at three o'clock in the morning, surround the sleeping-spaces and intimidate a lot of sleeping guests. It’s really unacceptable for the police not to use the liaison process that we set up and very worrying that this is how Denmark is being portrayed to our international guests."

Lars K. Kristiansen, who has been working in the last week securing windows, building fire doors and insulating empty buildings in the run up to the summit said, “The Danish authorities have been criticised for failing to provide enough places for people who are coming to Copenhagen to sleep. We were trying to meet that need, but now the police have confiscated the tools that we were using to construct those sleeping spaces. ”

Isabelle LaChoix, who was sleeping in the centre at the time said, “People from all over the world have come to Copenhagen to deal with climate change, just like the people staying at the Ragnhildgade centre. The ‘Danish text’ has already been a source of international embarrassment for the Danish government – and now it risks more criticism by treating climate activists like criminals.”

Despite last night’s events, activists will be providing a warm welcome for the arrival of the Social & Climate Justice Caravan at 6.30 pm at the Klimaforum. The caravan has travelled from the 7th conference of ministers of the World Trade Organization in Geneva to COP15 in Copenhagen, with 60 activists from the global South drawing attention to the consequences that neoliberal globalization and climate change have had on their lives. Together with local activists in Copenhagen, they will be exploring alternatives to free trade and the privatisation of resources, and new means of cooperation between Northern and Southern activists.

From my knowledge of how tolerant the Danish police used to be about a lot of things and considering how Christiania still exists something in this incident to me smells of someone having an agenda somewhere, and I leave the reader to decide and think.

© 2009