A restaurant owner in Vejle that has been blockaded by the trade union 3F for signing a collective bargaining agreement with an independent union has found an unlikely ally.
Last Friday, 3F’s website was shutdown after a so-called DDoS attack in which the site was flooded with traffic causing a virtual traffic jam and rendering the site inaccessible for legitimate users.
The same day a video appeared on YouTube from the global online activist network Anonymous, taking responsility for the attack.
Members of Anonymous are known for attacking the websites of organisations they disapprove of, such as their attacks against banks that in 2010 stopped allowing donations to the whistleblowing organisation Wikileaks.
“We cannot accept a blockade that cannot be defended against legally. That is why we started our action against 3F,” Anonymous stated in the video.
On Sunday an online ‘hacktivist’, Elan0r1, took individual responsibility for carrying out the attack on behalf of Anyonmous.
“Our ‘vigilantilism’ is a result of the personal army that 3F established since March. Now it’s about time their opponent received some help,” Elan0r1 wrote on a now defunct Twitter profile.
“What it boils down to is freedom of speech.”
Other organisations sympathetic to 3F’s blockade against Restaurant Vejlegården also reported being attacked, including the union HK, the labour confederation LO, and the youth wing of the political party Socialdemokraterne.
The 3F website remained down on Monday, meaning that 30,000 union members were unable to register for their unemployment benefits online. Members instead had to report in person to 3F offices in order to have their benefits paid.
On Wednesday, however, a second video from the Anonymous network appeared that condemned the attack against 3F.
“Let us make it clear that these are traitors to Anonymous’ internationally known and feared reputation and are a plague on the whole movement,” the video states.
The new video criticised the first group for shutting down 3F’s website and preventing 30,000 people from being able to receive their unemployment benefits.
“We cannot let a group of Danish losers ruin our reputation and everything our organisation has used years to build up.”
The contradicting agendas of two alleged Anonymous members is to be expected according to another member of Anonymous contacted by Politiken newspaper.
“Anonymous is very loosely organised and without and official structure or hierarchy. That is why anyone can call themselves Anonymous,” a member named Faust said.
“Anonymous is neither left nor right wing. We consist of activists from both wings. Our political position can therefore be a little unstable but people tend to gather around issues not related to wing politics but rather freedom of speech and information and the fight against corrupt governments.”
The conflict over Restaurant Vejlegården began last December after its new owner signed a collective bargaining agreement with Krifa, an independent union, that provided his employees with worse working conditions than 3F’s national agreement.
3F then began a legal blockade of the restaurant, preventing its rubbish from being collected, beer from being delivered and adverts being run in the local newspaper.