Danish Police Raid Copenhagen Climate Campaigners' Rooms

Published on
by
The Guardian/UK

Danish Police Raid Copenhagen Climate Campaigners' Rooms

Police detain 200 activists at their Copenhagen accommodation and seize items they claim could be used for acts of civil disobedience

by
Bibi van der Zee

Police stand guard outside a former beer depot in Copenhagen, used as a temporary prison for possible activists arrested during COP15. (Photograph: Christian Als/EPA)

COPENHAGEN - Danish police last night raided a climate campaigners' accommodation
centre in Copenhagen, detaining 200 activists and seizing items which
they claimed could be used for acts of civil disobedience.

About
200 police arrived at the shelter on Ragnhild Street, in the Nørrebro
district of Copenhagen, at 2.30am. They locked activists into the
building for two hours, and searched some of the nearby properties.
Campaigners say they took away various items including a power drill,
an angle grinder, and some wooden props. No arrests were made.

A
spokeswoman for Climate Justice Action (CJA), one of the activist
groups, said: "People were enormously frightened and alarmed. We really
don't know why the police handled it like this: the Danish government
has provided this accommodation for activists and now the police are
acting unnecessarily. We'll be asking for the items they confiscated
back."

Police have confirmed the raid took place but have not yet issued a statement.

The
centre on Ragnhild Street is one of a handful of sleeping spaces
provided by the government for the protesters who are expected during
the course of the summit. Activists estimate that between 30,000-40,000
protesters may arrive over the next couple of weeks. Hundreds of
small-scale actions are planned, and three large-scale peaceful protests are also due to take place on Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday.

Police have said that although they will facilitate peaceful protest,
they fear that an international extremist network may come to
Copenhagen to join the peaceful protests then break away to commit acts
of violence.

The head of the Police Intelligence Service
(PET), Jakob Scharf, has said that "violent extremists will try to
abuse and get a free ride on the peaceful activist involvement in the
climate debate."

Scharf said he feared that peaceful protesters may end up in a battle zone between extremists and police.

Some
activists have privately conceded that there may well be trouble at
some of the upcoming demonstrations. But most strongly refute the idea
that troublemakers are descending on Copenhagen. "We've found that to
be a myth put about by people who are seeking to undermine the genuine
reasons people are protesting," said Mel Evans of CJA. "We've issued a
call out for people to take peaceful action on climate change and that's why they're coming here."

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