Denmark. At the beginning of the year, Danish police
arrested several people suspected of planning the murder of
one of the Danish Muhammadan artists. At that time, about 20
Danish media as well as Sydsvenskan in Sweden chose to
re-publish the cartoons. The publication led to new and
partly violent protests in the Muslim world.
countryaah, Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen resigned in April,
after being appointed Secretary-General of NATO (taking
office in August). Fogh Rasmussen was succeeded as head of
government by his finance minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. In
May, the Left also elected Løkke Rasmussen as new party
leader after Fogh Rasmussen. At that point, opinion polls
showed that Venstre lost ground to the Social Democratic
In the elections to the European Parliament in June, the
right and left had success at the expense of the center. The
Danish People's Party and the Socialist People's Party
received twice as many votes as in the previous EU
elections. The Social Democrats made losses but still
maintained their position as the largest party in the EU
elections. During the year, the Social Democrats (S) changed
partners from the left-liberal Radical Left to the Socialist
People's Party (SF). S leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt and SF
leader Villy Søvndal presented a joint proposal in August on
tax increases for high-income earners and tax cuts for
low-income earners. Both parties were aiming for a left-wing
victory in the 2011 election according to the Norwegian
During the summer, a conflict arose around a group of
asylum seekers who were rejected and sought to avoid
rejection to Iraq. The Iraqis sought refuge in a church in
Copenhagen, but police went in and retrieved them, leading
to violence between police and hundreds of protesters.
Later, about 12,000 people demonstrated for the arrested
Iraqis, who were, however, rejected in September.
In the autumn, Danish Defense Chief Tim Sloth Jørgensen
resigned following a conflict over a book about a Danish
elite soldier's experiences from Iraq and Afghanistan. The
defense considered that the book's revelations could
threaten Danish security, but the attempts to stop the book
in court failed. One of the defense's arguments against the
spread of the book was that it had been translated into
Arabic. However, the translation had been made on the
Internet by the defense's own IT manager and then sent to
journalists. The defense's IT manager and communications
manager were indicted for gross misconduct and the defense
manager filed his dismissal application.
In the wake of the international financial crisis, the
Danish economy went back more than the government had
expected. GDP fell by 5.4 percent during the first three
quarters of the year. In August, unemployment was 3.7
percent, and the government expects it to increase by 2010.
The Copenhagen area was plagued during the year by
violent gang war with, among other things, mc clubs
involved. In March, thousands of Danes went out in a protest
demonstration against the violence, but in the autumn there
were again gunfire. It was then reported that six people had
been killed and sixty injured in more than a hundred
shootings in Denmark in 14 months.
In October, US police arrested two men suspected of
terrorist plans against the Danish newspaper
Jyllands-Posten, which in the autumn of 2005 published the
controversial Mohammed cartoons. One of the arrested had
reconnected at the Jyllands-Posten editorial offices in
Aarhus and Copenhagen. The man had contact with people
linked to terrorist groups in Pakistan. The intention of the
terrorist plans was to take revenge on the newspaper which
was believed to have ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad.
Prior to the UN's major climate summit in Copenhagen in
December, the Danish police were given increased powers.
This led to mass arrests of peaceful climate protesters,
which drew criticism both in Denmark and abroad. When the
climate meeting ended with a weak agreement on reduced
greenhouse gas emissions, the Danish government was
criticized for unsuccessful negotiations.
Against the police state?
After 19 years without terrorist actions in Denmark, the
Danish government in November 2005 urged a 49-point terror
plan. The plan went far beyond the measures adopted in
countries such as the United Kingdom, France and Spain, and
even the United States, where drastic civil rights
restrictions had been implemented after September 11, 2001.
The government's terror plan was subjected to sharp
criticism - both internally notably by the Left's political
spokeswoman Birthe Rønn Hornbech (who called it "the first
steps towards a police state"), by the opposition, by legal
experts, by the Judges' Association, by the police officers,
by the Medical Association, by the outgoing state attorney
and by the police. Experts doubted the legal tightening
would prevent terrorist attacks. The purpose was to sharpen
the surveillance of political opponents and to reduce
democracy. During the municipal elections in November 2005,
the Social Democrat noted Ritt Bjerregård that an increased
terror threat to Denmark had to be seen in the light of
Denmark's participation in the occupation of Iraq: "the one
who sows the wind reaps the storm". It prompted a fierce
prime minister to declare: "When you articulate what she
does, you can easily come out in defense of terror, at least
to apologize for it."
Despite strong protests, Terror Package 2 was adopted by
VKO and the Social Democracy in June 2006. The package
represented the most serious restrictions on democratic
rights in Denmark since the Occupation.
Copenhagen - literature
As Denmark's artistic and cultural center for 500 years, Copenhagen has
hatched, attracted and repelled countless Danish poets.
With Morten Børup's topographical verse, the city received its first
official tribute poem approx. 1490. On the comedy scene, Copenhageners
could see themselves parodied in Ludvig Holberg's Jacob von Tyboe (1723)
and JL Heiberg's April Fools (1826).
In Hans Christian Andersen's novel Only a Fiddler (1837) describes
provinsboens fatal encounter with the city, and thus laid the foundation for a
wide range of Danish produce novels that combine to make the city of opportunity
and perdition symbolic place.
However, it was not until Herman Bang's epoch-making novel Stuk (1887)
that the city took on a major literary role. With impressionistic precision,
Bang describes the bustling movement of the big city, its modern types and
explosive growth beyond the ramparts.
While Bang critically describes the pseudo-life of the Copenhagen
bourgeoisie, several writers around 1900 address the city of the
proletariat. Karl Larsen lets Kresjan Vesterbro (1897) tell about his
life with Copenhagen jargon, and Martin Andersen Nexø paints with social
indignation in Pelle the Conqueror (1906-10) the city's slum.
The critical distance of realistic prose, which swings ambivalently between
fascination and disgust, is supplemented after the First World War with an
enthusiastic Copenhagen poem.
Emil Bønnelycke pays homage in ecstatic rhythms to the city's noise and
traffic in Asfaltens Sange (1918), and Tom Kristensen and Jens August
Schade capture the city's moods with expressionist images and surrealistic
visions. More reserved is the prose writer Mogens Klitgaard in There Sits a
Man in a Tram (1937).
A kind of hometown poetry is given to the city by Tove Ditlevsen's Barndommens
Gade (1943), which depicts a girl's upbringing in Vesterbro. Jørgen Gustava
Brandt draws Indre By from the memory in My Heart in Copenhagen (1975),
while the city's constant expansions are reflected in the suburbs' literary influx with Klaus
Rifbjerg's Amagerdigte (1965) and Dan Turèll's Vangedebilleder (1973).
In 1960's, 1970's and 1980's poetry, the city is also the symbol of modern
alienation. Sven Holm with Far Away speaks the city with my voice (1976)
and Michael Strunge with The Screamers (1980) each express their
generation's love-love for the city, while Dan Turèll abandons the spirit of
Copenhageners' banal but also vital everyday life in Storby-Blues. (1977).