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In Copenhagen, only luck will keep you out of cuffs.

December 15, 2009

My involvement in the going-ons of the COP15 is not by any means militant. I work in an activist café that provides a safe and relaxed environment. I marched from the city center to the Bella Center in a peaceful protest. And I’ve attended a meeting to hear people speak about their thoughts on the issues. Nothing more than that. And yet, it feels like these simple actions carry so much weight here, because from my perspective, I’ve now avoided arrest twice, purely by luck.

While writing about COP15 events isn’t really related to this blog, I’ve peppered this short post with a few links to some other people on the web who are writing about what is going on in the streets of Copenhagen. If you’re interested in what the climate summit has meant for people outside the conference center, all the links here are worth a look.

In the last post I welcomed you to the summit, COP15. Since that post much has happened here in the city of Copenhagen. You may have heard that there have been mass arrests of peaceful protestors (total arrests probably reaching somewhere around 1,500 by now – see pictures here). Some of my friends have been arrested, including Ronan and Rasmus.

Last night, Sondre and I attended a debate/panel/meeting-of-minds in a big circus tent in the middle of Christiania. The invited speakers were Naomi Klein, Michael Hardt, and Tadzio Müller. The question and answer session turned into a pretty heated discussion about protest, civil disobedience, and violence – the invited speakers stood in firm disapproval of the use of the latter in the upcoming demonstration on Wednesday . After the meeting, we decided to drink some beers.  The atmosphere in Christiania was lively and befitting the celebratory parties and concerts happening all over the neighborhood. We went to Woodstock, a shanty-style bar on Pusher Street – too crowded. We went to Operaen, where David Rovic was playing. But we wanted to sit down and be able to talk with our friends, so we left and went to a bodega just a few blocks away. In doing so, we had unknowingly avoided a police raid against what should have been actions directed towards a few barricade burning, bottle throwers, but instead involved another round of mass arrests and tear gassing of partiers caught unaware. This included, of course, the speakers and guests inside the tent. Among the actions taken by the police in Christiania last night was the deliberate arrest of Tadzio Müller. Only 45 minutes before he had been calling for non-violence in confrontation with the police during the COP15 protests, while at the same time saying that no more participants would land in one of the “cells” at the re-fashioned brewery turned COP15 jail. The police have not said why they arrested him.

It was an ironic end to the heated debate that went on inside that tent. I’m just glad I went for a beer.

Correction! Edit! Update!

I think I must have read the news reports wrong out of exhaustion or something! Tadzio Mueller was arrested on the 15th of December, outside the Bella Center, after having given a speech there, and not during the events at Christiania. He was released on the 19th of December. However, the police did arrest nearly 200 people in Christiania that night.

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