Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 10:01:51 +0200
Sender: Forum on Labor in the Global Economy <LABOR-L@YORKU.CA>
From: Eric Lee <ericlee@EINDOR.ORG.IL>
Subject: Danish strike leaders jailed

Danish strike-leaders jailed; Convicted of wanton destruction of property

By Anders Fenger, Daily Worker, 12 December 1997

DENMARK—Friday December 12. Three danish strike leaders were sentenced to jail because of their involvement in the 1995 busdriver-strike. The verdict came friday in the city court of Esbjerg, two years after the ending of the big strike at Ri-Bus. On the spot appeared vast quantities of press from all over Denmark, including the two national television-stations. Outside the city court hundreds of workers gathered in a demonstration against the criminalisation of labor-struggles, as one of the slogans said. The most wellknown labour-activist, Peter Kleist Christiansen, was sentenced to six months in jail, while John Andersen, another of the strikeleaders got three months imprisonment. A third of the accused, an 53-years old busdriver and strikeorganizer Bjorn Marcher only received a fine of 100 US-dollars for beeing in possesion of illegal arms—a baton.

The two strike-leaders, Peter Kleist Christiansen and John Andersen were accused and convicted to have masterminded wanton destruction of property—busses and private homes of scabs and police-officers—and organizing unrest, traffic blocades. They were also convicted of requesting criminal acts—vandalism—to be conducted against scabs, police and politicians during the long, bitter and upheated conflict against privatisation of the buscompany Ri-Bus in 1995. The judges claimed, that at least to of the accused appealed to other sympathizers to conduct criminal acts during 1995. All three denied the charges.

After the verdict, the prominent labor-organizer, convicted to six months in jail, Peter Kleist Christiansen told reporters, that he was absolutely furius about the desicion of the judge, a judge that only acted on behalf of the employers and the police. Among the active, tradeunionists in Denmark the verdict raises the question of criminalisation of future laborstruggles. They fear, that it forms precedent in the coming months and years. The three tradeunionactivists were convicted jailsentences only because they raised the voice of working men, John M. Smith, president of the local unskilled workers tradeunion (SiD) told reporters, adding that none of the three participated in or masterminde criminal acts such as as wanton destruction of property or vandalism. As many tradeunionists, he sharply protests the verdict, which he conciders to be the most severe for many years.