Date: Thu, 18 Jun 98 12:19:08 CDT
From: (Brian Hauk)
Subject: Rightist Assaults On Immigrants In Denmark Mark Class Polarization
Organization: InfoMatch Internet—Vancouver BC
Article: 37170
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

Rightist Assaults On Immigrants In Denmark Mark Class Polarization

By George White, Militant, Vol.26 no.23, 15 June 1998

COPENHAGEN, Denmark—In the Folehaven district in the south of this city, ultrarightist attacks against immigrants have escalated. These attacks register the polarization that has sharpened in Denmark as class tensions heat up in the wake of a two-week general strike of 500,000 workers that shut down much of the country.

A number of residents of Folehaven, home to many immigrants from the Balkans and the Middle East, described to the Militant the daily harassment they face from the ultrarightist thugs and skinheads. Raja Zahoor, an immigrant worker originally from Pakistan, said that five or so years ago this type of intimidation did not exist in the neighborhood. The nazis go after the people of color first, then they go after the Danes, he explained.

Zahoor described how these thugs—many of whom live in the neighborhood—hang out in the local park and intimidate immigrants. They come with their pitbull dogs and terrorize people. They unleashed one of their dogs to attack an eight- year-old just recently, said Zahoor. This comes from their ignorance and from the government. They gave me a Danish passport but they didn't give me Danish rights. But you have to talk and you have to keep fighting.

Raja Tab, another Pakistani who lives in Folehaven, told of crosses being burnt at a nearby school, as well as a front door to the apartment of an immigrant family. Things have been getting worse. A lot of people are moving. We have families and young children to take care of, he said. Tab is moving to another neighborhood in the next week. He also told us of a local shopkeeper who had been assaulted at gunpoint and beaten because he was married to an immigrant from Thailand.

We have called the police many times, Tab explained angrily, but they just issue warnings to the nazis when we are attacked and nothing changes.

According to a report in Politken, a national Danish daily, these attacks have intimidated residents in the neighborhood to the point where some will not leave their homes after 5:00 p.m. Many other immigrant families keep their back doors locked in the summertime. The article says these thugs have served as bodyguards for Jonni Hansen, a leader of the Danish National Socialist Party, an openly pro- nazi formation.

A hotel worker from Afghanistan, who requested his name not be used, and who has lived in Denmark for 6 years, told of discrimination when he visited the unemployment office. When there's a choice between a native-born worker and myself, they give the job to a Dane. And even if I get a job, you can be sure that I will get the one with the worst hours, he said.

This worker said there was no union at his hotel and that, as a result, he hadn't participated in the general strike. Perhaps the strike will help and people will see that we are all workers, all human beings. But I'm not so sure.

Newspapers in Birkerod, a city to the north of Copenhagen, reported that the local offices of the SID, the national union of semiskilled and unskilled workers, were severely damaged on May 2 by arson during the general strike. While no direct links to ultrarightist forces have been proven, local police speculated that the arson was tied to forces opposed to the union.

In the recent vote to approve the Amsterdam Treaty, the latest attempt to cobble together the shaky European Union, both the organized Yes and No campaigns resorted to demagogic anti-immigrant appeals. This has emboldened the skinheads and ultrarightists. At the same time, protests against anti-immigrant violence are being seen in Denmark, such as a demonstration last August in Roskilde, when 1,000 people marched against a public commemoration of nazi leader Rudolph Hess by a group of 140 fascists.