Mass release after Copenhagen rioting

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The Independent Online

Hundreds detained following clashes with Copenhagen police have been released but may face charges in connection with the violence, authorities said yesterday.

Demonstrators fought with police on Saturday after officers prevented a crowd of thousands from reaching a vacant building they want to use for parties and concerts. The protesters set fires and tried to climb over squad cars blocking a road, prompting officers to fire tear gas, police said.

Officers arrested 437 people overnight, police spokesman Flemming Steen Munch said, adding that no one was injured.

Most were Danes but those detained also included 21 Germans, 18 Swedes, eight Finns, seven Norwegians, and protesters from Britain, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Turkey.

Munch said they could face charges later — including some that carry jail sentences.

Saturday's protest centered around the closure of the Youth House, a popular hangout for anarchists, punk rockers and left-wing groups that was torn down in March.

The City of Copenhagen had sold the Youth House to a Christian congregation six years ago, and evicted the squatters in March in order to hand the building over to its new owners, who later tore the building down.

The protesters claim the city had no right to sell the building and have staged several demonstrations demanding a new house. On Saturday, thousands tried to get to a vacant waterworks plant they want to serve as the new Youth House.

Built in 1897, the Youth House had long served as a community theater for the labor movement and as a cultural and conference center. Vladimir Lenin was among its visitors.