Police evicts social centre 'Ungdomshuset' in Copenhagen
After a long political and legal battle the basis-democratic, alternative political and cultural centre 'Ungdomshuset' was forcefully evicted by riot police and airborne anti-terror squads this morning. Ensuing demonstrations have seen large-scale confrontations between protestors and heavy-handed police, here is the full story from Copenhagen.
After serious social conflicts and uprisings by the autonomist and squatting movements in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the subsequent 'Ungdomshuset' was offered as part of a political compromise to the activists. The mainly young activists dubbed it ‘Ungdomshuset’ (‘The Youth House’), and started running various cultural and political activities out of there. It has for many years served as one of the only multicultural, basis-democratic collectives/community centres in Copenhagen, with the exception of the Freetown Christiania. Property rights remained in the hands of the local council, which in 1999 decided to disregard the previous political compromise and sell the house to the highest bidder.
In 2003 the fundamentalist Christian sect ‘Faderhuset’, which had bought the property in 2001 prompted the authorities to evict the ‘Ungdomshuset’ and its users. Despite many demonstrations in support of ‘Ungdomshuset’ Faderhuset won the ensuing courtcase and the politicians avoided serious involvement in the conflict, despite the political nature of the case. Many domestic demonstrations saw alleged police brutality and in December an ‘Ungdomshuset’ demonstration turned into a major confrontation between activists from all over Europe and the police. Subsequently the ‘Ungdomshuset’ was fortified in order to avoid an eviction and return the issue to the political arena.
This morning at 7:00 AM the anti-terror squad landed on the roof of the ‘Ungdomshuset’ via helicopters, while riot-police sealed off the street and attacked using teargas from below. As the whole area is closed off no documentation of the action and police-behaviour can take place. Some witnesses say that teargas and police violence was plentiful, although the eviction happened swiftly and according to police in a ‘relatively calm manner’.
Later in the day activists from all over Copenhagen rushed to protest the eviction of ‘Ungdomshuset’, they were met by aggressive policemen in riot gear blocking the street arresting suspected troublemakers with many resulting injuries. The demonstrators fought back and tried to reclaim the ‘Ungdomshuset’, but were repelled and activists took to the nearby streets and started building barricades, while engaging police in skirmishes.
The neighbourhoods has been entirely shut down by local residents and activists: actions and demonstrations have taken place all over Copenhagen with more planned for the following days and weeks. While sympathisers from all over Europe have been rushing in, although police are attempting to detain suspected activists at the borders. Furthermore solidarity demonstrations are under way in Germany, Norway and Sweden.
The house has functioned as a political and cultural centre, home to political demonstrations, political debates, concerts and many more cultural events since 1982. It has served as a basis-democratic remainder that ‘another world is possible’ until this morning… The actions of solidarity taking place all over Europe, as well as Russia and Australia are greatly appreciated. Please join in and support the struggle for autonomous commons and the resistance against the neoliberal repression.
Riots in Copenhagen (videos)
label : political