Six months ago, the 25-year old Ungdomshuset (Youth House) occupied social center in Copenhagen, Denmark was evicted by police so that it could be handed over to the new owners, a Christian fundamentalist
religious sect. This led to three days and nights of rioting in the
city, with observers calling it the most serious internal security
disturbance in Denmark since the end of the Second World War. 750
demonstrators were arrested.
This past weekend saw dramatic street actions in Copenhagen, as activists attempted to squat a replacement social centre named “G13.” On Saturday 6th, between 3,000 – 10,000 people took part in a co-ordinated day of non-violent confrontation, which was met with heavy police repression. A total of 436 arrests resulted according to Danish mainstream media – a new record for a single police operation. Later in the evening, the G13 press group issued a statement
declaring an end to the day’s action. Demonstrators made it through
police lines into the G13 site, but were cleared from the building by
police after several hours of occupation. Despite this, many in the
Danish scene believe the day was a success. As one participant said:
summer we couldn’t do anything as a movement. Whatever we did we
couldn’t do it together and the police and the media hated us. Then
last fall we learned to throw rocks. The movement rediscovered militant
tactics. Then for half a year since the eviction that tactic has played
out its usefulness. So now, we’ve developed a new tactic [non-violent confrontation]. As a movement we are now able to do anything.
There have been regular demonstrations on the part of Ungdomshuset
supporters for the past six months, including violent riots in which
police have basically given up control of the streets. In order to
escalate the political side of the struggle, activists came up with a
simple plan: go squat something big as a replacement for Ungdomshuset,
do it in public, and make a bid for renewed public support by doing it
in a confrontational but non-violent way. In a brazen display of
self-confidence, the organizers released their planned starting point,
as well as a full run-down of their planned tactics and the location of
the building they plan to squat (an old waterworks).
The History of Ungdomshuset
its destruction on 5 March 2007, Ungdomshuset occupied social centre
served as a central rallying point for the city’s anarchist youth. The
building, located at Jagtvej 69, Nørrebro hosted gigs and meetings for
nearly 25 years. Its roots as a focal point for the city’s left went
back over a century.
The building was
completed on 12 November 1897, with the name “Folkets Hus” (The
People’s House). The house functioned as one of the resorts for the
then-incipient labour movement of Copenhagen. Since labour
organisations were unpopular in the eyes of the authorities, and
reprisals were often carried out against them, the organisations had to
build their own headquarters ? Folkets Hus was the fourth of these to
be built. The roots of several demonstrations and meetings were planted
in Folkets Hus, and as a result it was strongly linked to the great
demonstration against unemployment in 1918 when workers stormed the
Danish Stock Exchange (Børsen). In 1910, The Second International held
an International Women’s conference at the house, during which Clara
Zetkin launched the idea of an International Women’s Day. Lenin and
Rosa Luxemburg visited the centre.
For more background see the Ungdomshuset Wikipedia page.
For more info see Indymedia:- http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/10/382968.html