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Ungdomshuset: The Kids Are Not Alright

John on March 2, 2007 at 10:15 am

It’s big news in Europe. Yesterday Danish police routed a group of squatters from a house known as “Ungdomshuset” (Youth House). From Der Spiegel:

At 7 a.m. local time on Thursday, anti-terror police dropped onto the roof of the building from helicopters while riot police secured the surrounding streets. Police officers perched on a crane and aimed water cannon through the windows while other officers dragged the squatters out of the building.

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Here’s how the article describes the denizens of Ungdomshuset:

The “Ungdomshuset” center in the multi-ethnic working class district of Norrebo had been occupied by young squatters since 1982 and had been used as a base for left-wing activists. It was sold to a Christian group by the state in 2000 but the occupants refused to leave and the new owners got a court order to have them evicted. The conflict over the center has been simmering ever since, with the youths living in the house refusing a proposal to move to another building.

The article doesn’t directly say so, but the left-wing squatters haven’t paid any rent for several years. A court battle between the building’s owner and the squatters had been going on since 2001. The squatters lost that battle more than a year ago and have still refused to leave. Given that these kids are there illegally and that the owner of the building is a Christian, protecting their right to break the law has naturally become a fashionable cause all over Europe:

The center has become something of a cause célèbre for the far-left anarchist scene across Europe and the squatters had asked people to come to support them in their hour of need. Last December, protests by around 1,000 people against the eviction plans turned into street clashes, and more than 300 people were arrested.

In Germany there were spontaneous demonstrations on Thursday evening to protest the Danish eviction. In Hamburg, around 800 people demonstrated against police, and threw bottles and street signs. The youths also dragged construction material onto the road and set bins alight. Police prevented around 100 people from demonstrating outside the Danish consulate in the city. In Hanover around 20 demonstrators clashed with police, while another 120 peacefully marched in the city center.

In Oslo, Norway, around 150 demonstrators threw snowballs and paintbombs at the Danish embassy. And three men were arrested in the southern Swedish city of Malmö for carrying flammable material and explosives — they are suspected of wanting to go to join the protests in Copenhagen.

Just as predictably, when police finally did raid the house, a riot followed:

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Hundreds of demonstrators reacted by setting cars, trashcans and makeshift barricades on fire and throwing bottles and cobblestones at the police. Police vans smashed through the barricades and officers chased the demonstrators down the street.

Violence flared up again on Thursday evening after the youth center’s Web site called for supporters to gather near the house. More than 1,000 protesters threw bricks and bottles at hundreds of riot police — who responded with teargas.

The authorities said that at least three people had been injured, including one protester who blew off his hand trying to hurl firecrackers in the direction of the police. At least 17 of those arrested are reported to be foreigners, nine of them German. Now the Danish authorities have tightened border restrictions with Germany and Sweden in order to prevent more sympathizers from arriving in Copenhagen.

These kids live in a liberal dreamworld where partying and throwing concerts constitutes a civic contribution, rock throwing at police and tagging public property is a proper means of protest and somebody else should pay for their freedom not to work for a living.

The kids are not alright.

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Category: Secularism & Socialism |

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