Archive for September, 2007

burn baby burn


(Last night encounters) 

There were fires and carnage in the streets of Copenhagen last night to mark the 6 month anniversary of the demolition of Ungdomshuset, a squatters house that has been the subject of much public debate since the mid 1990s because of the conflict between the municipal government of Copenhagen, and activists that occupied the premises.

Unsuspecting party goers, returning home from a night out in town caught clouds of teargas which is rarely used in Denmark. It hurts like crazy, unfortunately I found that first hand.

Despite living close to the main scene of action, I have never really written about this event on this blog before, so here is a little shorthand history for those of you who were not in Copenhagen then, or are now;

Ungdomshuset (literally ‘The young house’) has functioned as an underground music venue and symbol for anarchist and leftist groups from 1982 (Nick Cave and Bjork have played there). However after a lack of cooperation from occupants to renovate the building for safely reasons, it was sold by the municipality to a Danish evangelical Christan group called Faderhuset. A move that couldn’t be more provocative. The riots that began in March 2007 in protest to the eviction of the occupants and demolition of the building, hit the news headlines around the world and have continued at a dissipated level since.

There is a vacant lot where Ungdomshuset once stood at Jagtvej 69, sandwiched between the cheap German supermarket ‘Aldi’ and ‘Saxons’, a bar and pub that does decent brunches. I pass it everyday on my way to work with a sympathetic feeling down deep inside.

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