Protests threatened over Jagtvej 69 redevelopment

Left-wing groups complain that locals have not been consulted about how to redevelop land that used to house a community centre, but developer says it has not been contacted

A joint statement signed by 12 left-wing groups threatens protests if the local community is not involved in the redevelopment of a contentious plot of empty land in Nørrebro.

The plot on Jagtvej 69 used to be home to Ungdomshuset, a youth culture centre run by an anarchist and left-wing community that had squatted in the building since 1982.

In 1999, the City Council sold the building, which was demolished in 2007 by its owners, the Christian sect Faderhuset. Riots before and after the demolition resulted in over 700 arrests and were some of the worst public disturbances seen in recent time (for more, see Factfile at the end of the article).

READ MORE: City wants to build on former anarchist stronghold

Protests planned
The groups call themselves a “united anti-capitalist Nørrebro” and yesterday released a statement threatening action if Procasa – the developer that now owns the land – does not involve the community in deciding how the land will be used.

“Procasa has not at any point asked the people of Nørrebro, politicians, or others for their views,” the groups state, pointing out that the building on the land had functioned as an openly-available community centre and free space since 1897.

“There is no doubt that Jagtvej 69 is a special place with a special history and Procasa should not count on building its property without protest!,” the statement says.

Group has not contacted Procasa
In October, Procasa turned down a suggestion by city politicians who wanted to buy back the land and build affordable homes.

Procasa partner Carsten Tidgen Houtved said, however, that the company was in dialogue with the City Council about its plans.

“When our plans are ready we will present them to the City Council to continue the discussions,” Houtved said, adding that Procasa had not ignored any input. “We have not been contacted by anyone from the group, so there’s nothing to ignore,” Houtved said.

READ MORE: Ungdomshuset plot owner blocks city's affordable housing plan

Enhedslisten: Protests are normal
One of the groups that signed the letter is Enhedslisten's Nørrebro Park chapter, but Morten Kabell, the party’s mayoral candidate in the Copenhagen local election, is less concerned that Procasa will avoid listening to locals.

“Planning laws already require hearings and meetings whenever there is a plot of land being redeveloped, so the same procedure will apply here,” Kabell told The Copenhagen Post, adding that there was nothing unusual about the threat of protest over development plans.

“The group is saying that there will be protests if something is built without the consultation of Copenhageners. But local groups protest all the time. It’s a part of everyday life.”

Factfile | Ungdomshuset, Jagtvej 69
The far-left and anarchist community ran the community centre Ungdsomhuset (‘youth house’) in a squatted building on Jagtvej 69 from 1982 until 2007.

In 1999 the City Council sold the building to Human A/S, which sold it on to the radical Christian sect Faderhuset, which turned down all attempts by the building’s residents to buy it back.

Faderhuset demanded the eviction of the building’s residents and on 1 March 2007, police assault teams, with the assistance of the military, raided the building by helicopter and removed residents who had barricaded themselves inside.

The building was immediately condemned and on March 5 it was demolished.

The eviction sparked some of the worst riots Denmark has ever seen, with disturbances lasting several days and resulting in over ten million kroner of damage.

There were also disturbances in late 2006 caused by community centre users protesting their impending eviction, and in the summer of 2007 by activists demanding a new community centre.

In 2008, Faderhuset sold the building to the current owners, Procasa.

The City Council gave the community a new building on Dortheavej road in the Nordvest district in 2008, which is widely called the ‘new Ungdomshuset’.

The empty plot on Jagtvej 69 still serves as a symbol of loss for many on Copenhagen’s left-wing, which is why the city now want to use the plot to build homes for young people.

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