Authorities confiscate handtools and even milk crates activists were using to prepare the sleeping quarters of forthcoming arrivals.
[Update: The New York Times is reporting that the police also confiscated bolt cutters, paint bombs and handmade shields that were likely meant to "be used to cause trouble."]
Tuesday night at around 3 am, 200 Danish security personnel raided the Ragnhildgade center in Northern Copenhagen where activists were staying during the Copenhagen COP-15 climate talks. The police surrounded the building where the activists were sleeping, moved in, and proceeded to confiscate a number of tools and materials the group was using to prepare sleeping quarters for the arrival of activists from around the world.
After rounding up the materials, the authorities cleared out at about 4am.
"The Danish authorities have been criticised for failing to provide enough places for people who are coming to Copenhagen to sleep," said Lars K. Kristiansen, who has been working in the last week securing windows, building fire doors and insulating empty buildings in advance of the summit. "We were trying to meet that need, but now the police have confiscated the tools that we were using to construct those sleeping spaces."
Despite last night’s events, activists say they will be ready for the arrival of the Social & Climate Justice Caravan at the Klimaforum, the "global civil society counterpart" of the official UN conference at the Bella Center. The caravan has traveled from the 7th conference of ministers of the World Trade Organization in Geneva to COP-15 in Copenhagen, with 60 activists from the global South who say they are drawing attention to the consequences that neoliberal globalization and climate change have had on their lives.
"It’s completely disproportionate for the police to come in at three o'clock in the morning, surround the sleeping-spaces and intimidate a lot of sleeping guests," said Tannie Nyboe of the group, Climate Justice Action. "It’s really unacceptable for the police not to use the liaison process that we set up and very worrying that this is how Denmark is being portrayed to our international guests."
Isabelle LaChoix, who was sleeping in the center at the time of the raid was concerned about the actions of the Danish government at the summit thus far. "The ‘Danish text’ has already been a source of international embarrassment for the Danish government – and now it risks more criticism by treating climate activists like criminals," said LaChoix, in reference to a document leaked from the Danish government containing a proposal that would hand more power to wealthy nations, sideline much of the UN's role and abandon the Kyoto Protocol.
The Copenhagen police said in a statement they confiscated items that could have been used "in connection with civil disobedience during demonstrations." No one was detained.
Together with local activists in Copenhagen, Climate Justice Action says it will be exploring alternatives to free trade and the privatization of resources; and new means of cooperation between Northern and Southern activists.