Eviction of Danish Social Centre Fuels Anger Across Europe

 

The occupied house in Copenhagen, Denmark named ‘Ungdomshuset’ has functioned
as a very important political and social cultural centre since 1982. It had been
involved in a long political and legal battle for its existance. But yesterday
morning at around 7am Danish
police made an end to this
by entering the roof of the building using a
helicopter and start an unannouced full scale eviction. Riot-police sealed off
nearby streets quickly and attacked the building using teargas. As the whole
area was closed off, so documenting the action and police-behaviour was
difficult. Some witnesses say that teargas and police violence was plentiful,
although the eviction happened swiftly and according to police in a “relatively
calm manner”.

At the moment everything is but calm. Over 1000 people are reported to be
back onto the streets last night and (burning) barricades blocked off some major
roads in the city. Some people have been admitted to hospital. Riots have
continued throughout the day and night and solidarity actions spontaniosly broke
out in cities across europe: Berlin (300+), Köln, Hamburg (700+), München,
Karlsruhe, Göttingen, Frankfurt, Bremen (300+), Magdeburg, Hannover, Vienna,
Heidelberg, Gothenburg, Oslo, Helsinki, Stockholm (100+), Flensburg, Marburg,
Potsdam and Leipzig. Over the next few days many more demonstrations and actions
are planned and Danish activists have called for people to make Saturday 3rd
March an international day of action. Danish police have started to draft in
re-inforcements from all over the country and many more activists are set to
arrive in the capital in the coming days. Total arrested: 600+

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 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. The homepage of “Ungdomshuset” has been shot
down but a mirror has been
set up
(in English). Also there is a short video-introduction produced before the eviction.