Sleepy Copenhagen was transformed into something reminiscent of Belfast in the bad old days. International riot supporters from Sweden, Germany and Holland arrived by their hundreds and Danish police had to borrow vehicles from neighbouring Sweden to cope with the ever-increasing numbers of arrests. Police officers and many protesters have been wounded, members of the press have been beaten up, and cars and houses set on fire. And everybody knew the conflict was coming.
The squatters, who have resided in Ungdomshuset for 25 years, follow a Danish squatting tradition. In the 1970s and at the start of the 80s, when Ungdomshuset came into existence, the BZ-movement was active. The BZ-squatters were predominantly peaceful and enjoyed a lot of support from the locals. Their greatest victory was the standoff with the police at a squat called Alotria, where the squatters famously dug an underground tunnel out of the house. When the police finally stormed the premises, the youths had melted away through the underground tunnel. The authorities dident like that.
How things have changed. Back then, Denmark was going through a rough spell with unemployment and the youths had every reason to take a "no future" stance. Political tension was in the air, recurring anti-nuclear demonstrations and massive disarmament rallies created a feeling of togetherness on the political left, and the radical youth was merely the extreme part of this togetherness.
But today Copenhagen is one of Europe's most affluent cities, a place focusing on its commercial success and materialism, which creates a strong tendency to political apathy - much like in Britain. From being a social democratic stronghold, Demark is today libertarian to a large degree. The material middle-classes have little understanding for young wild bloods, and maybe this in part explains the protesters' increasingly aggressive and confrontational stance.