Today I read the news that about around 60 youngsters in Christiania got arrested. Christiania is a free state with its origins going back to the ’70s, when hippies took over an old military camp. In 1987, after years of trouble, the Danish government decided to label it as a social experiment, which gave the inhabitants some autonomy. Christiania was most known for the Pusherstreet, where people were allowed to sell/buy/smoke pot, although the true inhabitants were not too happy about that. Some of the people I talked to when I was there in 2003, hated the fact that every tourist was just coming by to smoke instead of being interested in the hippie roots.
Well, things have changed since the Danish government decided to stop the ‘experiment’ in 2004. Since then soft drugs weren’t allowed anymore, which resulted in a drugs ‘war’ all over Copenhagen. I’ve been there after the shut down of Pusherstreet and the atmosphere has truly changed. More riots took place after the shut down as well. I happened to witness one of them when the police tried to take away all the dogs that were loose (there are many), which infuriated the inhabitants.
Yesterday another riot took place apparently when the police tried to break down an old house which was damaged by a fire five years ago. The interesting thing was that the original inhabitants of Christiania asked for a civil and peaceful protest, but things got out of hand when squatters from other parts of the town came to demonstrate. It’s such a shame that Christiania somehow attracts the wrong crowd that can’t handle freedom. Despite whatever political background most Christianians might have, I really wonder how Christiania would be doing if only people who truly share the founders’ perspectives would still live there. Guess we’ll won’t find out.
This is a picture which you will see when you leave Christiania, I thought it was quite funny the first time I saw it.