Friday, December 11, 2009

Civil Disobedience alive and well in Denmark.

COPENHAGEN - Danish authorities are bracing for a massive demonstration today in Copenhagen expected to draw tens of thousands of people on the sidelines of UN climate talks, fearing it could turn violent.
Police have beefed up security at Denmark's land and sea borders in a bid to prevent troublemakers from entering the country.
"We reinstated border controls a few days ago and we will turn back people we suspect of coming to Copenhagen with the sole aim of disturbing the peace,"said Copenhagen police spokesman Flemming Steen Munch.
Violent far-left groups have already threatened via Internet sites to join the protests against the climate negotiations, which they say do not address the concerns of the poor countries most threatened by global warming.
Police have warned potential agitators that they will respond "firmly" to acts of violence.

The demonstration is expected to gather between 40,000 and 80,000 people depending on various estimates from police and organizers.

The six-kilometre (four-mile) march, organized by 515 organisations from 67 countries, will depart from the Christiansborg Castle where parliament sits, crossing the city centre to end up at the Bella Centre where the climate conference is being held.
"Our hope and goal is that this big demonstration will be a peaceful party, festive and without mayhem," Munch said, adding: "But we know from experience that some destructive elements will infiltrate the demonstration."
"We are ready to meet any and all situations, and will not allow the troublemakers to rule," he warned.

Police have informed shopowners and inhabitants on the demonstration route that the event may turn violent. Buses and trains packed with protesters are expected to arrive from other European cities, including Berlin, Kiel, Bremen, London, Amsterdam and Milan. "A number of Swedes have already been turned back at the border because they had a history of vandalism in Sweden. They also had paint bombs in their luggage," Munch said. "We've also stopped some buses in order to check passengers' identities and their luggage," he added.

On Friday, police were out en masse, some of them in riot gear, as smaller demonstrations were held throughout the city. Some 35 Danish and foreign protesters were taken into custody "as a preventive measure" as police suspected "they might commit illegal acts," another police spokesman, Rasmus Bernt Skovgaard, told AFP. Under Danish law they can be held for 12 hours without charges being pressed. They were part of a group of some 250 anti-capitalist protesters calling themselves "Our Climate - Not Your Business," demonstrating at various locations around the city and arguing that industry was turning the climate crisis into a business opportunity.

Meanwhile, civil society climate groups, TckTckTck and AVAAZ were also jointly organizing more than 3,000 candlelight vigils around the world on Friday and Saturday, said founder Bill McKibben. "They are in support of this AOSIS stand," he said, referring to a demand by the Association of Small Island Nations that the world commit to preventing global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

"These are tiny nations, but they have an army behind them, an army of civil society the world over who understand that these are the only people at this conference talking about scientific reality."

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