Copenhagen: It Will Be a Riot


A riot-riot, not a laugh-riot:

To that end, Climate Justice Action and other groups are planning a number of activities to drive home their message. On Dec. 11, one group plans to take “direct action to confront corporations taking part” in the summit in an action called “Don’t Buy the Lie.” A number of groups are planning a worldwide protest for Dec. 12. And on Dec. 13th, another group hopes to blockade the Copenhagen harbor in protest against the way goods are produced, transported and consumed.

Reminiscent of Seattle

Perhaps most significant, however, Müller and his group plan to storm the conference on Dec. 16 and “disrupt the sessions and use the space to talk about our agenda,” as the Climate Justice Action Web site describes it. The hope is that official delegations participating in the summit will join the protest, called “Reclaim Power.”

The actions are reminiscent of similar tactics used during the WTO protest in Seattle, when protestors were successfully able to prevent delegates from reaching the convention center where meetings were being held. A riot quickly ensued, ultimately resulting in 600 arrests and numerous injuries — and in a new model for anti-globalization protests that has been repeated numerous times since then. Indeed, some see climate change as being a new focus for the kind of demonstrations that have grown out of the anti-globalization movement.

Despite Müller’s protestations that he wishes to avoid violence, the Danish authorities are assuming the worst — and outfitting the police with far-reaching new powers. In October, the Danish Ministry of Justice proposed a new law that would increase the penalties for police obstruction and vandalism. The law, branded by some activists as the “hoodlum” law, would increase the penalty for obstructing police to 40 days in jail. Currently, only a fine is called for. Police would also be able to detain potentially dangerous protesters for up to 12 hours instead of the current six. Penalties for vandalism would also increase by 50 percent.

In addition to the new law, Danish police in August released a statement detailing rules and regulations for demonstrations at the climate conference that allow them to break up gatherings “when it is feared that they may constitute a danger to the public order.”


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