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.
According to 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 opposition.
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 model.
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).