The Copenhagen Post reports that Mogens Lauridsen, deputy chief superintendent of Copenhagen Police, has made a statement on advice for protestors published on the Internet.
The advice for protestors includes an explanation of laws which the police may use against them as well as their legal rights under Danish law. Such legal guides are often published ahead of protests to inform demonstrators of the risks they may face and advice about how police may act towards them - during protests and if they are arrested. They are of particular relevance where protestors are coming from other countries where laws and police procedures differ.
The Danish police force, like all police forces, does not have an unblemished record when it comes to the treatment of protestors.
Recently a letter signed by members of several British NGOs including Friends of the Earth, Jubilee Debt Campaign and Christian Aid was sent to the Danish embassy (and published in the Guardian) highlighting concerns over the curtailing of legitimate protest around the Copenhagen climate summit after new repressive public order legislation was proposed. The legislation proposed includes an extension of pre-emptive detention from 6hours to 12 hours.
National differences in public order laws also led a mainstream NGO coalition to ask for clarification over whether its members wearing panda costumes would be arrested on the streets of Copenhagen, since in Denmark the wearing of masks (or even the assumed intention to wear a mask) can be an arrestable offence.
The people from around the world planning to protest at the Cop15 climate summit deserve to know how the police may treat them, and no civilised society should object to such information being published.
Here is an extract from the Copenhagen Post published 25th November:
"Activists have also been warned by police not to spread advice that could lead to criminal behaviour.
A number of manuals on how to avoid the police and deal with them in case of arrest have been circulating on activists’ websites.
The manuals give details on usual Danish police operating procedures and advise activists not to answer police questions or allow their mobile phones to be confiscated.
‘These recommendations are aimed at people with a criminal agenda. It’s a little like the gang conflict – not that I’m comparing the two groups – where people are also advised not to talk with police,’ Mogens Lauridsen, deputy chief superintendent of Copenhagen Police, told Politiken newspaper.
‘If you haven’t done anything wrong then there’s no problem informing us what you’re doing in Denmark and why you’re here,’ he said.
The umbrella organisation for activists’ demonstrations, Climate Justice Action, is meeting with police today to discuss their plans and Lauridsen said they would be required to provide an explanation for the manuals."
Similar coverage has also this morning been featured in Politiken: