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.