Friday, December 11, 2009
Police play down weekend protests in Copenhagen
by Katie Day
POLICE in Copenhagen do not expect violence at Saturday’s COP15 demonstrations in which up to 60,000 people are likely to voice their concerns over climate change.
Anti-capitalist group Never Trust A Cop says the true purpose of COP15 is to restore the legitimacy of global capitalism and is encouraging demonstrators to stay in the city near the hotels of COP15 delegates to ensure their protests are heard.
Police spokesman Henirek Fuhr, who is reluctant to disclose how many police will be present, said they were prepared for the Saturday demonstrations.
“We are prepared for the whole summit and that means we are prepared for the demonstration as well,” he said.
“We do know how many police will be out there but all I will say is that there will be enough.
“We expect no problems at the demonstration, but if they should occur then we will be ready for any problems that do arise.”
New laws passed for the demonstration will allow police to arrest people who can be imprisoned for up to 40 days for hindering police and resisting arrest.
“The change in law is that we now have the right to keep people in custody for 12 hours instead of 6 hours,” Fuhr said.
“If protesters are being disobedient in the street we can and will fine them up to 5000 kroner. That is only during the demonstration not on normal days.”
Several climate and green groups have organised a demonstration under the umbrella of The Global Day of Action.
Demonstration spokesperson Knud Vilby said organisers have cooperated fully with police to ensure a peaceful protest.
“There are a lot of logistics, we are cooperating with police and other organisations to ensure this is a peaceful family demonstration,” he said.
“We have been meeting with the Copenhagen police to discuss how to cooperate and how to handle any violence. It has been carefully planned, and we don’t expect any violent protesters.”
Vilby said that the Global Day of Action is not affiliated with the Never Trust a Cop demonstration.
“We are aware of Never Trust a Cop, they are not big and they are not associated with our peaceful demonstration,” he said. “We do not support them.”