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“Crackdown in Copenhagen”

2009

Writing, photos, videos, and links posted by Adrian on the It’s Getting Hot in Here blog

Over the past week, the Danish capital has welcomed delegates, corporate lobbyists, and representatives of mainstream, moderate NGOs with open arms; however, they’ve shown a somewhat uglier face towards activists advocating climate justice.

Yesterday, a massive, peaceful protest of 100,000 people – the largest demonstration for climate justice in world history – was met with a heavy-handed response by the Danish police. Thousands of riot police swarmed the march route, blocked off streets surrounding large groups of protestors, and arrested almost 1,000 people. Arrestees were cuffed and forced to sit in rows for hours, as the temperatures dipped below freezing; numerous people urinated on themselves after being denied use of toilets. Despite the mood of severe frustration with the state of climate talks that pervaded the march, there were only a few reports of property destruction and minor skirmishes with police (which the media have hugely played up) – however, the police swept up masses of people, including NGO delegates and independent journalists, with little focus on determining who had actually broken the law. As one British protestor, Georgy Forshall, put it: “Two of my friends are in there. The police said demonstrators had been throwing stones, but my friends were in a cow costume, they wouldn’t have been able to throw stones.”

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