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Denmark’s hippie paradise asks authorities to shut down its Pusher Street after weekend shooting

Police stand guard in the Freetown Christiania neighbourhood of Copenhagen, Denmark, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023.
Police stand guard in the Freetown Christiania neighbourhood of Copenhagen, Denmark, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023. Copyright Emil Helms/AP
Copyright Emil Helms/AP
By Euronews, AFP, AP
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The residents of the neighbourhood of Christiana, traditionally a hippie paradise where the cannabis trade has flourished despite bans, asked authorities for help shutting down its Pusher Street after a slew of recent gang-related murders.

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After a deadly shooting last weekend, Copenhagen’s hippie commune Freetown Christiana has called on Danish authorities to close its so-called “Pusher Street,” which has become a hub for cannabis trafficking.

On Saturday, a 30-year-old man was fatally shot and four more were injured in the streets of Christiana in an incident that’s been linked to organised crime. Copenhagen police spokesman Poul Kjeldsen said two masked gunmen were responsible for the shooting.

It was the fourth deadly shooting linked to drug trafficking since 2020 in the commune’s “Pusher Street” - an escalation that has led the community to ask for the government’s help.

“Tonight, August 27, the community of Christiana has decided that ‘Pusher Street’ must be closed,” read a statement by the district released on Sunday.

“People in Christiana have neither the resources nor the power to close ‘Pusher Street’ and keep it closed,” the community added.

The district was once a paradise for the 1970s hippy counterculture in the country, which created a commune there in 1971, the “free town of Christiana”.

In this small community, created on the site of a former naval base, the sale and consumption of cannabis are illegal but tolerated. This has allowed the flourishing of an open cannabis trade, focused in "Pusher Street", that has brought dangerous criminal gangs to the area.

About 900 people live in the 34-hectare district in the heart of Copenhagen now. Earlier this month, residents blocked access to non-residents “in the hope of freeing Christiana from tyranny gangs.” More than half a million tourists visit the commune every year.

Denmark’s Justice Minister Peter Hummelgaard told the local TV2 TV channel that he wanted to "achieve lasting change" in the district. He added that a working group of residents, the police, the state, and the municipality of Copenhagen are considering a solution to the area’s problem.

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