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RIP: Christiania, Denmark

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo DENMARK: FREE CITY TO BE ANYTOWN Copenhagen s famed Free City of Christiania, a
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 13 3:26 AM
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      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

      DENMARK: FREE CITY TO BE ANYTOWN Copenhagen's famed Free
      City of Christiania, a 32-year-old experiment in communal
      urban living where drugs are sold freely and smoked openly,
      will lose its special status on Jan. 1, 2006, the government
      said. Christiania will become "a neighborhood like any
      other, which is open to everyone, freed of drugs, and which
      respects the laws of the country," the finance and economy
      ministers told reporters. Christiania, home to 1,000
      hippies, artists, activists and misfits as well as
      restaurants, cafes, and shops, sits on 80 acres of prime
      real estate within walking distance of downtown Copenhagen.
      Denmark expects $33 million from the sale of the property.
      (Agence France-Presse)

      --
      Dan Clore

      Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
      http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro
      Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

      "It's a political statement -- or, rather, an
      *anti*-political statement. The symbol for *anarchy*!"
      -- Batman, explaining the circle-A graffiti, in
      _Detective Comics_ #608
    • Dan Clore
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo Posted on Sat, Mar. 13, 2004 Copenhagen s Hippie Enclave May Remain by JAN M.
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 13 9:27 PM
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        News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

        Posted on Sat, Mar. 13, 2004
        Copenhagen's Hippie Enclave May Remain
        by JAN M. OLSEN
        Associated Press

        COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- The hippie enclave of Christiania
        will remain Copenhagen's alternative lifestyle community as
        long as residents obey the law, pay rent and stop selling
        drugs, the government said.

        In a report on Christiania's future, the government said
        Friday that enclave residents must adapt their houses to
        building codes or tear them down.

        The 84-acre former naval barracks that is the home of about
        1,000 people "should still be an area where there is room to
        live in a different way," said Finance Minister Thor
        Pedersen. "But it must be normalized, it must respect the
        laws that apply in the rest of the Danish society."

        The enclave took root in 1971 when dozens of hippies moved
        into the derelict 18th-century fort on state-owned land. The
        freewheeling society became a counterculture oasis with
        psychedelic-colored buildings, free marijuana, no
        government, no cars and no police.

        In 1987, Christiania was recognized as a "social experiment"
        and residents were later given the right to use the land,
        but not own it. The government plan eliminates the agreement.

        By Jan. 1, 2005, residents must make agreements with the
        state to rent the areas they use. Adults now pay a fixed
        monthly fee of the equivalent of $266 to the community for
        electricity, water and other services.

        Two-thirds of Christiania's residents live on social welfare
        or have no official income.

        "It is not the intention to build new expensive houses or
        tall buildings, it should remain an alternative spot in
        Copenhagen," said Bendt Bendtsen, the economics and trade
        minister. "What we want is simply that the worse (violations
        of the law) disappear."

        In January, hashish dealers, who have openly sold illegal
        drugs, demolished their sales booths to avoid a crackdown
        they feared would lead to their eviction.

        Although the booths have disappeared, hashish is still being
        sold.

        ON THE NET:
        Christiania, http://www.christiania.org

        --
        Dan Clore

        Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
        http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
        http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro
        Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
        http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/
        News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

        "It's a political statement -- or, rather, an
        *anti*-political statement. The symbol for *anarchy*!"
        -- Batman, explaining the circle-A graffiti, in
        _Detective Comics_ #608
      • Dan Clore
        News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo Storming Denmark s drugs stronghold By Neil Arun BBC News Online Danish police
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 23 11:53 PM
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          News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

          Storming Denmark's drugs stronghold
          By Neil Arun
          BBC News Online

          Danish police chief Kai Vittrup misses Iraq -- he has come
          home from the "war on terror" to wage the war against drugs.

          "Mostly very friendly people," he says of the Iraqis he was
          training to police the town of Basra.

          Back in Copenhagen this week, the atmosphere was less welcoming.

          Mr Vittrup has just led a spectacular crackdown against the
          drug dealers of Christiania, the infamous neighbourhood that
          has functioned as an autonomous "state within a state" for
          some 30 years.

          Previous police expeditions into this hippie enclave were
          beaten back by crowds pelting officers with Molotov
          cocktails and stones.

          Some 200 officers took part in this week's operation, and
          were greeted by barricades and booing residents.

          Their 10-hour-long incursion into Christiania resulted in 48
          arrests -- almost all for the possession or sale of
          cannabis, a drug banned in Denmark.

          Mr Vittrup says the suspects will face trial and possible
          prison sentences of up to six years.

          Dawn raid

          After decades of defiance, it seems Christiania is finally
          being brought to heel.

          Police believe this week's raid has smashed a local cannabis
          economy with an estimated annual worth of $80 million.

          With stakes that high, Mr Vittrup knows the dealers will
          soon be looking for ways to revive their trade.

          But they will not find it easy -- police claim their
          intelligence and surveillance network in Christiania has
          never been stronger.

          Which is why, says Mr Vittrup, there are no plans for a
          permanent, visible police presence in Christiania.

          "We have no wish to be seen as an occupying force," he says,
          citing recent experiences in Iraq.

          It may already be too late for that, however, according to
          some in Christiania.

          For years, there has been a ceasefire between the state and
          Christiania

          Jes Fabricius Moeller, historian

          Belinda, a worker at the Café Nemoland, describes this
          week's police raid in terms more commonly used for urban
          counter-terrorism operations.

          "They came at five in the morning," she told BBC News
          Online. "They woke people up and took them to the station.
          They took away TVs, property. Of course, they also made some
          mistakes."

          Property anomaly

          Belinda blames Denmark's conservative government for the
          crackdown -- she says they are acting on an old vendetta
          against the hippies and leftists who created this enclave.

          But for Danish historian Jes Fabricius Moeller, the problem
          with Christiania runs deeper than this government.

          He points to the rising value of land in overcrowded
          Copenhagen, citing it as a potential factor behind the
          crackdown. Situated amongst canals and greenery, barely five
          minutes from the centre of the capital, Christiania is prime
          real estate.

          Official policy, says Mr Moeller, is "to reinstate the logic
          of private property".

          "If you live on expensive land, you have to pay for it."

          He says it could be this -- as well as the law and order
          issue -- that has driven the recent crackdown.

          "The police have always hated Christiania," he says. "It
          represents a challenge to the state's monopoly over the use
          of force."

          Biker 'muscle'

          He told BBC News Online of how left-wing activists in the
          early 1970s rallied to occupy land vacated by an army base.

          I am confident there will be more trouble in Christiania --
          but no more than we can handle

          Kai Vittrup, Copenhagen's chief of uniformed police

          There they founded the "free town" of Christiania with two
          objectives in mind. These, according to Mr Moeller, were
          "the creation of a society where there was no private
          property and no instruments of political violence -- in
          other words, no police."

          Denmark's government of the time granted the commune a
          degree of autonomy. A deal was later struck, whereby the
          squatters could lead lives free from official interference,
          as long as they paid their taxes and utility bills.

          "For years, there has been a ceasefire between the state and
          Christiania," says Mr Moeller.

          The sale of cannabis was tolerated -- much of it controlled
          by Hells Angel-style biker gangs, who, says Mr Moeller,
          acted as "muscle" for the hippies and political idealists.

          Meanwhile, the hippies scrupulously refused to exploit their
          autonomy by entering the lucrative trade in harder drugs
          such as cocaine and amphetamines.

          The head of Copenhagen's narcotics police, Ole Wagner,
          confirms this. He told BBC News Online hard drugs have never
          been a problem in Christiania.

          Still troubled

          But elsewhere in Denmark, as in Europe at large, cocaine use
          is rising.

          Mr Wagner and his colleagues are confident they can tackle
          the Danish drug habit, now that Christiania's dealers have
          been crushed.

          "We used to assemble a team of 150 officers just to enter
          Christiania," says Mr Vittrup.

          That manpower, he says, is now free to take on the city's
          other dealers in 15 teams of 10 officers each.

          "I am confident there will be more trouble in Christiania --
          but no more than we can handle," he says.

          Belinda from the Café Nemoland disagrees.

          "It is too expensive for the police to keep this up," she
          says. "I have been coming to Christiania for 23 years. We
          have time on our side."

          Story from BBC NEWS:
          http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/3524274.stm
          Published: 2004/03/19 03:10:00 GMT

          --
          Dan Clore

          Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
          http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
          http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro
          Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
          http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/
          News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

          "It's a political statement -- or, rather, an
          *anti*-political statement. The symbol for *anarchy*!"
          -- Batman, explaining the circle-A graffiti, in
          _Detective Comics_ #608
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