Sunday, 13 December 2009

::13 12 09::

Frontline, Princess Nyah style

Police arrested hundreds more people in Copenhagen yesterday during aweekend in which even peaceful protest seems to be unacceptable during the UN conference.

Buses arrived to remove 256 people from the scene when police halted the demonstration after having gained information from that activists were planning to force themselves into a locked part of the harbour to stop production. A police spokesperson, Flemming Munch, announced, ‘We decided to set up a search block and stop everyone who was in the march. Initially we had a good dialogue and said if we found nothing on people we would let them through but a lot of them
wouldn’t cooperate and then it became an aggressive situation so we used force and arrested everyone.’

The protest, Hit the Production, began at Triangen in the Osterbro area of Copenhagen. Kate Cuthbert, said, ‘We’re hitting the harbour because shipping is a perfect example of how our whole economic system is responsible for climate change.’ Organisers say 500 people began to walk towards the harbour but after 100 meters police had surrounded
the group on all sides. By the time it had reached Oslo Plads they were met my riot vans, dogs and a wall of armoured officers and immediately detained in a controversial kettling tactic.

Karen Davidson, from the civil rights group, Parents Against Police Brutality, said, ‘The force used here was completely disproportionate to the level that was needed. People who didn’t want to be searched were immediately pushed to the ground. Soon, the police had surrounded everyone and began placing them in plastic hand ties.’

Henrik Ama was one of the initial few to get away. He said, ‘Only six of us were let through before police became violent. They smashed the window of a car that was travelling with us and took gasmasks and bolt-cutters from it. They have my bag still but it only has a sandwich in.’

Munch said, ‘We saw that there was gasmasks and equipment to break into a locked part of the harbour so decided to take action.’ However, when The Independent pressed to find out how these tools were spotted,
Munch said this was classified police information.

Meanwhile, members from the German environmental group, Robin Wood, who scale buildings to hang banners, were hauled over a bridge by police and bundled into riot vans. Daniel Hafner escaped arrest because he had a press card. He said, ‘Our message said simply, Pay Climate Debt, but within 10 seconds police grabbed the ropes and yanked the climbers back up.’

Throughout the day police helicopters continued to hover over Copenhagen whilst riot vans sped sporadically through the streets. Whilst new laws were passed ahead of the conference that allow police to detain people for 12 hours without cause, the Danish public believe that their illiberal powers are a result of rioting between the police and youths in 2006.

Organisers of today’s event were part of the activist network Climate Justice Action (CJA). For police and protestors the focus is now on Reclaim Power day this Wednesday when activists will try to enter the Bella Centre to create a 'people’s forum'. After 968 people were arrested on Saturday after the same preventative measures were used CJA is encouraging people not to be put off by the inevitability of arrest. ‘This is a historic moment and police should know that nothing they do will deter us from what we’ve come here to demonstrate.’

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