Denmark Aims to Criminalize Climate Protests

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As the Copenhagen climate summit approaches, the Danish government is rushing through a harsh new law that allows preventive detention, increases fines and extends sentences for demonstrators

Derek Wall (Another Green World) shares this proposed letter to Danish authorities, written by an ecosocialist activist in Copenhagen. He encourages activists worldwide to send similar protests to the Danish embassies in their countries.

We write to express our concern about the proposed “hoodlum” law which is planned by your government. The bill that will be put before the Danish parliament, in a few weeks, has serious implications for anyone who is intending to demonstrate, or protest in any way, during the COP15 summit in Copenhagen this December.

It is clear from the timing, that your government intends this bill to become law by the time of the summit. We understand that the proposed bill will greatly increase the Police’s powers of arrest.

Among its main provisions: the extension of the period of “preventative” arrest from six to twelve hours; an increase in maximum sentence for obstructing a police officer of up to forty days, even for a first offence; as well as a host of measures which greatly increase the penalties for breaking the law regarding public protests.

These measures, if approved, will effectively criminalize protests involving any degree of peaceful civil disobedience. At the same time, a climate of fear is being generated by certain elements of the Danish media about the prospect of thousands of climate activists descending on Copenhagen. We think this is no coincidence. It is therefore clear that the law is aimed at the many thousands of climate activists, from all over the globe, who will be coming to Copenhagen.

It appears to us that the Danish government and media is hostile to both the protesters and their message.

We therefore call upon the Danish government not to pursue this legislation and to allow protesters to demonstrate and congregate without police harassment.

More information on the proposed law.