Monday, December 18, 2006

The banner reads: "The Youth House Stays," anarchists smash a police van

Copenhagen, Denmark - Supporters of a squatted youth center fought police in violent street battles after police tried to a halt a protest march against the center's planned eviction. The Ungdomshuset (Youth House) was founded by squatters in 1982 and was granted permission to stay by the City Council. In 2000 the government decided to sell the building to a Christian organization, but has not been able to evict the occupants since.

On Saturday about 1000 protesters convened a 4pm march at the Youth House, which was surrounded by police before leaving the area. Demonstrators responded to the provocation by shooting fireworks and sending a barrage of cobblestones and other missiles at the police. Soon thereafter rioters smashed the windows to dozens of corporate owned storefronts and lit numerous fires in intersections throughout the capital city. Immigrant youth also joined in the riot and took and took advantage of a chance to fight the police.

Some 300 people were arrested, more than half of whom have since been released. At least two people and three riot police officers were seriously injured. One demonstrator had two fingers blown off by a firecracker and another was run over by a police vehicle. The three officers were injured by flying cobblestones. The rioting was the worst the country had seen in at least ten years.