National Round-Up: Election bid born out of insurrection

Rasmus Paludan capitalises on mass media coverage to gain the necessary endorsements to run for office

It would appear that inciting violence on the streets of Nørrebro at the tax-payer’s expense is good business for Koran-burning lawyer Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line).
Since his demonstration and the riots that ensued on April 14, Stram Kurs has received the necessary 20,109 approved voter declarations needed to stand in the 2019 General Election.
As of that morning, which began with a change of venue after a car exploded at 1 am in Paludan’s original choice of Mjølnerparken, he only had 5,526 declarations.

70 fires, 23 arrests, 24 million
The riots sparked off after the lawyer flung a Koran around in the air at Blågårdsplads at around 3 pm before being whisked away to safety.
Pitched battles then continued into the night as police and rioters exchanged tear gas and cobblestones. In total, around 70 fires were deliberately set, and the police made 23 arrests as trouble spread all over the city.
The police have spent an estimated 24 million kroner of taxpayers’ money protecting Paludan at around 70 demonstrations over the last two years.

Penis painter recruited
Paludan has named controversial artist Uwe Max Jensen as his first candidate. It is believed the pair met when Paludan represented Jensen following his numerous arrests for indecency and disruption.
Among his better known stunts are re-enacting the decapitation of the Little Mermaid whilst naked, painting Kim Kardashian and a 2017 DF local election campaign poster with his penis, and urinating off the Round Tower.
Some of Jensen’s convictions are not as quirky, though. In 2017 he was sentenced to 30 days in prison for assaulting a museum employee in Aalborg.

Paludan in debates?
It is believed that Paludan will be allowed to take part in the televised party leader debates, and Jørgen Ramskov, the CEO of the radio channel Radio24syv, warns he will need to be more careful than he has been on YouTube where he has expressed many racist opinions.
Paludan was recently handed 14 days for racism – a sentence he has appealed to the High Court.
Among Stram Kurs’s policies are a ban on Islam, expelling all non-Western people who have been granted asylum/who are not nationals, and withdrawing from international conventions on refugees. Paludan has also, on occasion, burnt the Koran, thrown it around in the air and wrapped it in bacon.
PM Lars Løkke Ramussen has condemned Paludan’s provocations as “meaningless” and ultimately divisory.

No bottle of wine?
In response to Paludan’s actions, journalist Nicolai Würtz started a charity fundraiser on the website of refugee organisation Dansk Flygtningehjælp. Würtz thought he might raise around 2,500 kroner for newly-arrived refugees, but the fundraiser has already netted 2.189 million.
Maybe some of the money could be given to the dark-skinned father and son who found Paludan’s Mastercard in the street and handed it to him as he spoke into the camera last July.
Most decent people would have given the gracious father and son a reward – like a bottle of red wine – but Paludan just accepted the card with a shrug.

Divorce change sought
Socialdemokratiet and Dansk Folkeparti want to change the law to enable refugees with temporary residency to get divorced. According to the Statsforvaltningen department of the Social and Interior Ministry, only permanent residents and citizens can get divorced. The parties fear the law is detrimental to ‘child brides’ married against their will.

Facebook closes news site
The Facebook page of the right-wing media site 24NYT was closed twice in mid-April. Its first page, which had over 34,000 likes, was shut without warning. An improvised second was then swiftly cut. Facebook offered no explanation to DR, and various social media experts regarded the action as “unusual”.

Copyright act needs revision
A study of the Danish Copyright Act reveals it is full of errors that affect how artists should receive money when their works are used by others. Initially, different EU member states were permitted to decide who could and who couldn’t play music for free, but now the EU is insisting that there should be no exemptions.

Firefighter shortage
It is becoming harder to recruit part-time and volunteer firefighters. More than half of the country’s 314 stations are short of personnel, meaning municipal taxes will need to rise to hire more permanent staff. In related news, the emergency preparedness authority, Danske Beredskaber, has warned that the fire safety of most historical buildings is poor and that a national action plan is needed.

DF post backfires
In a now viral poll, Dansk Folkeparti asked its Facebook followers if they would dare put Danish foreign policy in the hands of four of the party’s opponents. Contrary to their hopes, 80 percent of the 23,000 responses indicated yes.

Bear dissection
The Natural History Museum in Aarhus invited children to the dissection of a black bear over the Easter break dedicated to the love of nature. The bear’s innards and heart were shown to those present, and bone and muscle were sliced off to reveal why bears have such thick fur.

Family drown in fjord
A father and his two children drowned in Ise Fjord near the hamlet of Nakke in north Zealand. The family failed to return after setting sail from Frederiksværk on the previous day. A search was launched across a huge expanse of water. The deceased children were 13 and 11.

The ultimate abstainers
No party in Denmark abstains from voting in Parliament as much as Socialdemokratiet, according to DR. Since the last general election, S has together abstained 96 times, including on the contentions ‘handshake’ law, the Lindholm island asylum centre, and reducing the integration grant by 3 percent last April. Dansk Folkeparti is the least likely party to abstain.

Blocked by the church
A local farmer in Ølsted in eastern Jutland has been trying for nine years to obtain permission to plant a 12-hectare oak and beech wood on his own land. However, although local people and the local church are behind the move, Haderslev diocese has used a 30-year-old law to stop him because the trees would block the public’s view of the church.

Major passport error
Some 228,000 Danes might need new passports as it has been discovered that the fingerprints for the right hand are saved as the left hand and vice versa. The erroneous passports were issued between 2014 and 2017, and the mistake was discovered in 2017. The police are looking into whether new passports will be required.

Spammed on eboks
Some 270,000 summerhouse owners have received a message via their e-boks from state-owned tourism organisation VisitDenmark encouraging them to rent out their property. Many reported the message as spam, and VisitDenmark has apologised. Datatilsynet is investigating whether the email breached the data law.

Lawyers blame shortage
Landsforeningen af Forsvarsadvokater, the national association of defence lawyers, blames staff shortages at the country’s prisons for their lack of preparedness for serious crime cases. Due to the shortages they are often unable to see their high security-risk clients. The Fængselsforbundet prison officer association concedes it is lacking 167 staff.

Drunk teen rise
An increasing number of Danish teens are getting drunk compared to 2014, according to the Sundhedsstyrelsen health authority. Some 84 and 82 percent of 15-year-old boys and girls drank alcohol in 2018 – up from 77 and 74 percent in 2014. A quarter of the boys drink alcohol every week; 38 percent of the girls got drunk at least twice last year.