Looking more like a war zone than a European capital city, burnt-out cars and other vehicles litter the streets of Copenhagen. A further night of violence in which riot police faced angry protesters has led to over 300 arrests and locals having to mount a clear-up operation.
But the violence was not limited to the streets, a city school was ransacked and books burned. One headmaster said: “I’m at a loss to express my feelings. It’s simply senseless destruction.” Activists have vowed to keep up the protests which began on Thursday with the eviction of squatters from a youth centre. That night cobblestones were thrown, barricades mounted and fires lit – they were met with tear gas and riot police. Friday night saw more of the same.
The building at the centre of the dispute was sold six years ago to a religious organisation, but was occupied by squatters who quickly developed it into a place popular with punk-rockers and political groups. Last year a court ordered the eviction and the handing over of the premises to the owners, while the government proposed an alternative site, something the youths have firmly rejected.