xAs they used to say, ‘Tis to laugh’
This was written by a friend of ours for us who was at the For Freedom march in Denmark last night, April 27th.
Waiting for the evening’s event I sat at a cafe across from Axel’s Torv where our Monday evening “For Freedom” marches start.
Earlier in the evening I had received a notice from a friend who would be unable to attend that there was a planned counter-demonstration by an extreme-left group called “The Revolutionary Antifascists” against the evening’s demonstration. I arrived at a café across from Axels Torv at 17:00, intending to eat dinner before the demonstration at 18:00 when I noticed that at that time police were already beginning to arrive and more were arriving all the time. Some were carrying riot gear.
That told me that the evening’s protest would likely not be very peaceful. And I was correct. At 18:00, when the demonstration began, there were about 200 counter-protesters and almost as many police officers in the area, plus 3-4 police vans. We stood in the middle of the square while the counter-protesters were on the periphery, shouting and trying to get by the police and get to us. The police did an admirable job holding them back.
There was contact here and there between the other group and us, though our actions were not violent, merely protective and defensive. We kept our cool as we usually do. There were, however, quite a few scuffles here and there, and the protesters were violent and belligerent. At one point a group of them grabbed our banner and tried to rip it out of the hands of the two guys holding it. There was a scuffle involving some of us, police, and the leftists, and we got our banner back.
I was standing with a sign when suddenly I was violently thrown to the ground by a counter-protester who had seen an opening in the police ranks and had propelled himself forward at a run wanting to grab my sign — which incidentally read “For Freedom, Against Racism and Violence”. Rather ironic.
It was an incredible mob with lots of violence in the air. It was hard to keep an eye on everything, as police were becoming increasingly heavy-handed in trying to control the situation. There were scuffles everywhere around me. Meanwhile my fellow protesters and I stood grouped in the middle. Police regained some control and we finally held our speech. There was much shouting but we had a megaphone and we managed just fine over the din.
We then started on our march, but at a very slow pace due to the fact that the police virtually had to plow the anti-protesters aside as we progressed. We stayed close together with the police vigilant at our sides, holding the mob back and making way for us. There were a lot of scuffles between the police and the counter-demonstrators, and progress was slow.
Police suggested to Nicolai (I am guessing) that we alter our route to a less-trafficked road, intending instead to walk around one of the Copenhagen lakes. Once there, however, the numbers of the mob swelled and the police formed a protective ring around us with their squad cars. Again, lots of yelling and scuffles outside the periphery. Police dogs were barking, and that seemed to scare them some. It felt like we were cowboys stuck in the middle of a full-scale attack by Indians. The wagons were the police squad cars that surrounded us.
Tons of police and dogs were there trying to control the situation. And there we stood for quite some time as we could neither go back nor forth. A bit of a stalemate.
Well, on a usual Monday march we stop and sing a song, so I suggested to Nicolai that now might be the appropriate time to do what we usually do and sing one of our good ones, an old Danish song from the Second World War called “Kringsat af Fjender” (surrounded by enemies). It seemed quite appropriate to the situation, and we sang loud and clear, and yes, we could be heard even over the shouting and yelling of the mob. Our humor was intact. Actually it was an uplifting moment, but it clearly infuriated the crowd that we stood there singing, unintimidated. It took quite some time, 15-20 minutes for us to get going again — presumably after the police had cleared the road again — this time back to the starting spot as there was obviously little chance that we could complete any route, due to the large number of violent counter-protesters.
Back at Axel’s plads we stood there with police with the mob still surrounding us, and eventually the police formed a cordon around us and escorted us to Vesterport station, which they closed off to ensure that we could get on S-trains out of there. I heard from Nicolai that there were two of our people, however, who were on the same train as some anti-fascists were on and there was fighting on board. The police were at the door and they arrested them. Nobody was injured except me when the thug plowed me down.
All in all I am proud to say that we did well, none of us shouted back or engaged with the opposition, nor was there any violence other than defensive on our part. I would say that there were approx. 40 of us, 200-300 fascist protesters and equally many police, both in uniform and in civilian dress. It was an evening to remember.
At their website they have an agenda to disrupt our Monday protests by whatever means possible. They have a goal of the 4th of May (the very day of the 70th anniversary of Denmark’s liberation from the Germans) by which they want to have stopped us altogether, so we fully expect a similar, if not more explosive situation next Monday, as they will likely want to meet their “goal” of shutting us down. They shall not prevail.