Thousands demonstrate against freedom of information act
The sunny weather yesterday brought up to 2,000 people to Christiansborg to take part in a demonstration against the government's controversial freedom of information act (offentlighedslov) proposal, which many say will reduce transparency and limit access to governmental information.
Among the speakers were a number of prominent journalists, youth party leaders and some of the organisers behind the demonstration.
Anders Højsted, a Radikale board member from the Nørrebro district in Copenhagen who has been instrumental in raising awareness to the issue by launching the ‘Nej tak til den nye offentlighedslov’ on Facebook, was pleased with the turnout.
“A petition [against the offentlighedslov] has now reached over 80,000 people and while a petition doesn’t necessarily influence politicians, every time we reach another 1,000 signatures, the journalists have something to write about and that, in turn, gives us more attention and more opposition to the law proposal,” Højsted said.
Of the youth parties, just Socialdemokratiske Ungdom (SDU) were not present at yesterday's demonstration, although SDU has said that they support the growing opposition to the proposal. A number of youth party leaders, including Kristoffer Beck the head of Konservativ Ungdom, participated in the protest.
“I want to encourage everyone here to help the cause. Go home and write letters, emails, Facebook statuses, and anything else you can to tell the politicians that what they are doing is completely unacceptable,” Beck told the applauding crowd during his speech.
Kremena Dimitrova, a Bulgarian national who has been living in Denmark for eleven years, was disappointed in the direction the government is moving.
“It’s a real shame that they are trying to limit transparency surrounding politicians and make it so that people will not be able to follow their actions,” Dimitrova said. “Because in my country right now they are fighting for more democracy, and here we are getting less. Bulgaria looks to Denmark as an example and the government is spoiling that.”
Aside from the speakers, the demonstration also featured a number of music performances from acts such as MC Einar, Dale Smith’s Blues Band and Shaka Loveless, who all played for free.
Stand up comedian Sebastian Dorset got quite a few laughs while summing up the issue while introducing the various speakers.
“The government want a concealed space to work in. Yeah, so did Josef Fritzl,” Dorset joked.
Resistance to the offentlighedslov has recently expanded beyond Denmark, with various international watchdog organisations such as the International Press Institute expressing their concerns with the government's proposal.