The recent crackdown in NGO participation has, as you may have seen from previous posts, left several from the VLS contingent “eventless” for the past few days. As a result, events like Bright Green, KlimaForum and the International Energy Agency’s Policy and Technology Day have become increasingly attractive not only for those of us interested in the a legal perspective but for the general accredited-yet-Conference-less population.
As a result, I decided to make my way toward downtown Copenhagen this morning to attend the IEA day-long side event at the posh Radisson. Naturally, all the BINGO’s who were also shut out decided to show up extra early and the event quickly reached capacity. After being turned away not one, not two, but three times, I was left with few other options to meaningfully participate in the process. Since I was leaving in less than 24 hours, I didn’t want to risk detention at the Bella Center protests so I decided to work my way (slowly, since all forms of public transport were significantly disrupted by the protests) toward Christiania to see the drama unfold in the anarchic, self-imposed common law free town.
I write this sitting in Nemoland Bar in the heart of Christiania, watching the COP15 news unfold in front of my eyes. Newsreel footage of police beating protestors both inside the center and out floats across the screen continuously. About two hours after I arrived, the footage changed to reporting that the police had agreed to allow many of the demonstrators to march back to Christiania!!!
I sit here now, after speaking with protestors and freetown residents and the reports are the same – the police were the aggressors. The recent speech from Yvo de Boer to the waiting NGO members indicated that it was a security issue. The crackdown outside, with tear gas in faces and police batons connecting with skulls provided the hard evidence to prove the same.
However, even as I write, young kids from Italy, Germany, England, Scotland, and Spain are near me, hassling me for a chance to update their twitter accounts and upload pictures on facebook and twitter accounts for compatriots and friends back home. There is great energy here tonight, and no violence or hostility. We’ll see how long I can stay, but if the protests were anything like Nemoland, the coming accusations of Denmark’s shift to a police state over the last month could be substantiated.