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Preemptive raids begin in Copenhagen

COP15--items-that-were-co-001

Danish police wasted no time in taking advantage of a new law that allows for preemptive action against protesters who arrived in Copenhagen for the climate summit this week. According to an article in the Guardian:

Danish police last night raided a climate campaigners’ accommodation centre in Copenhagen, detaining 200 activists and seizing items including paint bombs and shields which they claimed could be used for acts of civil disobedience.

About 200 police arrived at the shelter on Ragnhild Street, in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, at 2.30am. They locked activists into the building for two hours, and searched some of the nearby properties. Campaigners say they took away various items including a power drill, an angle grinder, and some wooden props. No arrests were made.

Police confirmed the raid took place and issued a statement saying among the items they had found were “58 fluorescent tubes containing a mixture of paint and oil, closed in both ends with candle wax, 193 riot shields, nine metal cages measuring 4x2m, which are capable of rolling and constructed inside with milk cartons, which could be used for staircases.”

A spokeswoman for Climate Justice Action (CJA), one of the activist groups, said: “People were enormously frightened and alarmed. We really don’t know why the police handled it like this: the Danish government has provided this accommodation for activists and now the police are acting unnecessarily. We’ll be asking for the items they confiscated back.”

This move by the Danish authorities reminds me of the preemptive raids by police on protesters in St. Paul and Minneapolis before the Republican National Convention last year. If this scary trend continues, protesters will need to take this possibility into consideration as future nonviolent actions are planned. And while I don’t normally like the idea of secrecy, there are times when it may be necessary. Plowshares activists, for example, are very tight-lipped before their actions.