Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 13th, 5:30 PM CET

Baresso Coffee, Norrebrogade

With 8 out of 15 pages finished, I figured it was time for a study break.

While writing in what I strongly suspect is the Danish version of Starbucks, amid the multitude of bikers I saw large police vans tear by with sirens blaring. You could see the officers in riot gear through the tinted windows. Today was one of the largest and most controversial actions yet, the blockade of the harbor. It would begin as a march and end at the harbor, but as it was quite well publicized the police were prepared in advance. Julia and David, another Georgetown student who is staying with us, spent the day at the action. Here's Julia's perspective:

"David and I went to a protest today called "Hit the Production." This was targeting the center harbour of Copenhagen, built to be the main harbour of the North - thus, the center of capitalist production. The carbon emissions of one ship are equivalent to that of 50 million cars according to flyers distributed at the rally. The protest started out peaceful, with chanting and music playing from the lead truck, but then it quickly turned ugly.

Because of "rocks."

Apparently one awesome new fad in Denmark is "preemptive" arrest. If the authorities think protesters are going to do something, then they have free reign to do whatever they like. And they go all out. Today, the po-pos stopped the demonstration before the bridge to the harbour. They jumped onto the truck because, according to one officer, there were "uh, rocks" on the truck and reason to believe that they would be used at the traffic-free habour. What ensued was nothing less than a battle, with police jumping onto the truck and taking down the demonstrators inside it. I was able to get some footage of one cop strangling a demonstrator, pushing his face into one of the truck poles. The police then sectioned off parts of the demonstration, brought out the dogs, and proceeded to arrest whoever they were able to catch inside their blockade. I was pushed out of the blockade while David stayed and exercised his right - he was released about 7 hours later after being held in a cage within a freezing warehouse. Before everyone had been booked and taken onto the buses, one demonstrator fell through the police line and was attacked - club to the head - by a swarm of police, who then pulled him onto one of the buses.

Now, what you might see on mainstream media, like you might have seen yesterday, is footage of a few "violent, anarchist" protesters. What you are being screened from are shots of the hundreds of people who came out today and the lack of violence that was utilized by the demonstrators. A member of the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA) from France mentioned that French mainstream television only showed footage of arrestees yesterday, with little mention of the 60,000 some people who had taken to the streets.

The rest of the day was spent trying to get to the jail vigil, meeting David with falafel, and trying to come to terms with the question that one demonstrator had asked the police --

'Who are you serving?'"

- Julia Shindel

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