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Sunday November 23rd 2014

Danske politistatsmetoder vækker opsigt i udlandet

The Guardian beretter i dag om, hvordan dansk politis massive, præventive anholdelser i lørdags formentlig er en overtrædelse af EUs lovgivning på området, ud over at være en krænkelse af §9 i FNs menneskerettigheder.

Avisen har bl.a. talt med et par udenlandske aktivister:

Denmark may be breaching European law, Danish human rights groups claimed tonight as they called for their government to launch an immediate inquiry after police in Copenhagen used controversial kettling and mass preventative arrest tactics for the third day running.

Following the arrest of 68 people on Friday, and 958 yesterday on Saturday, police today arrested 257 demonstrators, “kettling” a section of a march near Osterport station, and as they had done on Saturday, cuffed the protesters and put them onto buses transporting them to a detention centre.

As the COP15 climate change summit in Copenhagen carries on into its second week, accounts were emerging of the treatment of the detainees on Saturday night – 945 of them had been released by this morning, with just 13 remaining in custody.

Maria Ludwig, 22, one of the detainees released, had arrived in Copenhagen from Germany on Friday, said: “They kept me for two hours with plastic cuffs around our wrists and our hands behind our back, and then they put us on the bus. We had nothing to eat or drink, and one man asked the police to go to the toilet and they said: ‘No way are you going to put your trousers down, you’ll just have to piss into your trousers.’”

Another protester from Germany, Chris, who asked not to give his surname, described the way that the detainees were made to sit: “With our legs on either side of the people in front of us, and then leaning on the person behind us, with our hands still cuffed behind our backs. It was very painful for the person behind you and you were in pain from the person in front of you. It looks like Guantánamo when you see it.

BBC interviewer dansk politis talsmand Henrik Suhr, og reporteren spørger noget undrende, om ikke kan frygte det vil give bagslag at anholde så mange mennesker, helt uden at de har gjort noget. Men nej. seasonticket har en transkription af interviewet, hvis man hellere vil læse det end høre det.

Warning: Don’t come to Denmark! opsummerer situationen nydeligt:

  • Almost all major Danish media bodies are reporting harassment from the police, who are blocking access to mass arrest areas amongst other things (link).
  • A 51 year old hare krishna woman who was handing out dessert to activists was arrested for being part of a “violent protest” (link)
  • The police are using mass arrest as a way to control crowds. Arrested people are forced to sit on the freezing ground for hours, only to be released again because they cannot be charged (link)
  • Amnesty International have condemned the police response and called for the anti-protest laws to be scrutinized (link)

The police have arrested over a thousand demonstrators, and ended up charging less then twenty. That means the police clearly don’t think detention is a serious matter, but it is. Using arrest as a way to scare people into “behaving themselves” is not what arrest is meant to be used for, at least not in a democracy. And it’s very easy to get cynical about Denmark and democracy, because here is a country that has tried to turn its own racism into a rallying cry for international democracy, when it clearly doesn’t even understand the basics.

Den berømte canadiske aktivist Naomi Klein opsummerer:

The Danes have invested a huge amount of money co-branding their capitol city (now “Hopenhagen”) with a summit that will supposedly save the world. That would be fine if this summit actually were on track to save the world. But since it isn’t, the Danes are frantically trying to redesign us.

Take the weekend’s protests. By the end, around 1,100 people had been arrested. That’s just nuts. Saturday’s march of roughly 100,000 people came at a crucial juncture in the climate negotiations, when all signs pointed either to break down or a dangerously weak deal. The march was festive and peaceful but also tough. “The Climate Doesn’t Negotiate” was the message, and western negotiators need to hear it.

When a handful of people starting throwing stones and setting off sound grenades, the marchers handled it themselves, instructing the people responsible to leave the protest, which they promptly did. I was in that part of the march, and it barely interrupted my conversation. Calling this a “riot,” as the British Telegraph absurdly did, really isn’t fair to serious rioters, of which there are plenty in Europe.

Never mind. The Copenhagen cops used a little shattered glass as the pretext for detaining almost a thousand people, picking up another hundred the next day. Hundreds of those arrested were corralled together, forced to sit on the freezing pavement for hours, with wrists cuffed (and some ankles too). According to organizer Tadzio Müller, these were not the people who threw rocks but “the treatment was humiliating,” with some of the detainees urinating on themselves because they were not allowed to move.

The arrests, part of a pattern all week, felt like a warning: deviations from the “Hopenhagen” message will not be tolerated.

Ytringsfrihed, forsamlingsfrihed, bevægelsesfrihed – pyt med det, det er noget, man havde engang,  ikke noget man bruger i Danmark år 2009. Deviations will not be tolerated.

Link: Protests in Copenhagen: Rights groups press for inquiry into police tactics, Memo to Danes: Even you can’t control this summit


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