Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Danish cops declare war on legal advice

DANISH police have warned climate change protesters not to publish legal advice in the run-up to the big international demonstrations in Copenhagen in December.

The Copenhagen Post reports that Mogens Lauridsen, deputy chief superintendent of Copenhagen Police, has condemned advice for protestors published on the internet, declaring: "These recommendations are aimed at people with a criminal agenda".

Explained an article on Indymedia: "The advice for protestors includes an explanation of laws which the police may use against them as well as their legal rights under Danish law.

"Such legal guides are often published ahead of protests to inform demonstrators of the risks they may face and advice about how police may act towards them - during protests and if they are arrested. They are of particular relevance where protestors are coming from other countries where laws and police procedures differ.

"The Danish police force, like all police forces, does not have an unblemished record when it comes to the treatment of protestors.

"Recently a letter signed by members of several British NGOs including Friends of the Earth, Jubilee Debt Campaign and Christian Aid was sent to the Danish embassy (and published in the Guardian) highlighting concerns over the curtailing of legitimate protest around the Copenhagen climate summit after new repressive public order legislation was proposed. The legislation proposed includes an extension of pre-emptive detention from 6 hours to 12 hours.

"National differences in public order laws also led a mainstream NGO coalition to ask for clarification over whether its members wearing panda costumes would be arrested on the streets of Copenhagen, since in Denmark the wearing of masks (or even the assumed intention to wear a mask) can be an arrestable offence.

"The people from around the world planning to protest at the Cop15 climate summit deserve to know how the police may treat them, and no civilised society should object to such information being published."

Police chief Lauridsen was quoted as saying: "If you haven’t done anything wrong then there’s no problem informing us what you’re doing in Denmark and why you’re here.".

But, as an Indymedia user comments: "So much for 'freedom and democracy!' If you haven't done anything wrong, it's no business of the police as to why you're in Denmark, or what you're doing."