Christiania's yes is a no
Initial signs pointing to residents of squatter colony Christiania
agreeing to the conditions of a government normalisation proposal
have taken a u-turn with the dispute now appearing to be heading
towards the courts
Although Christiania residents' answer to the Palaces and Properties
Agency's proposal for normalisation of the squatter colony was
reported to be a 'yes' on Friday, agency administrators have now
interpreted it as a 'no', saying Christianites want too many preconditions.
This most recent answer from the self-proclaimed free city has tried
the patience of the agency's managing director, Carsten Jarlov, who
said the state had already spent '20,000 hours and around 20 million
kroner' on resolving the matter.
'I don't see the point in meeting again,' he told public broadcaster
DR. 'Now the courts will have to decide the fate of Christiania.'
Christianites currently have some 700 lawsuits filed against the
government over residents' claims to the former military base
officially belonging to the government.
But the residents are hanging their hopes on two parliament rulings
protecting their rights, passed in 1978 and 1989, allowing them to
have the final say over the colony's ultimate fate.
Part of the disagreement over the agency proposal has to do with
around 150 additional houses that the residents want included as part
of their call for 'one Christiania'. In addition, the agency is
requiring Christianites to give up their lawsuits - something
residents will not do until they are satisfied with the final agreement.
In addition to residents dropping their lawsuits, the Palaces and
Properties Agency proposal includes that Christiania's houses and
buildings be administrated by a housing association; that new
buildings be built on the site; that there be open waiting lists for
Christiania housing; that the colony's residents pay rent; and that
the government provide 10 million kroner to the colony to keep rent
for existing residents down at the start of the normalisation process.
The agency has also indicated it will eliminate recent squatter
developments that have popped up on the colony's periphery.
While the government's leading party, the Liberals, are ruling out
any further discussions with Christianites over the normalisation
plan, their government partner, the Conservatives, have indicated
they are still willing to listen to the concerns of the residents
over the proposal.
Many Christianites themselves would rather see their cases fail in
the courts than cave in to the agency's threats.
Long-time resident Bo told Information newspaper: 'I'd rather die
with my boots on than see Christiania die a slow death.'
Who got city arts grants
Robert Lawson, film, $8,000, Christiania: Our Heart is in Your Hands.
To continue work on a feature-length documentary about a squatter
community occupying an abandoned military base in Copenhagen,
Denmark, where hundreds of young people declared the 84 acres a "free state."
News from the battles for free space in Copenhagen
Struggles around free space and squats continue abounds in
Copenhagen, Denmark. Not only are there still weekly demos still for
the campaign to have a new Youthhouse (Ungdomshuset) but a new
extension to the famous squatted Christiania has been occupied with
great success. It also looks like the council has given in to
pressure from the squatters movement and agreed a new Youth House for
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