Posted on November 10, 2005

Århus Teens on the Warpath Again

Copenhagen Post, Nov. 10

Faint reverberations of recent French immigrant riots continued in the Danish city of Århus Wednesday night, as teenagers rampaged through its Rosenhøj quarter, setting dustbins on fire, smashing shop windows, and trying to set fire to one store.

A 19-year-old boy was arrested in connection with the attempt to set the shop ablaze.

The district had seen several nights of disturbances last week as young people took to the streets smashing shop windows, hot dog stands, and setting fire to a pre-school and a fast food restaurant.

Last week’s disturbances were blamed on youth gangs and a city housing association promised a DKK 10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.

City officials reacted to the original disturbances by entering into a dialogue involving the young people and their parents, social workers, the police, teachers, and housing association members.

The methods appeared to have worked, and the weekend had seen quiet in the quarter.

On Monday, Pia Kjærsgaard, leader of the right-wing Danish People’s Party, said the disturbances should be treated as terrorist acts.

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, however, rejected her call, saying there was a difference between terror, the riots in France’s suburban immigrant quarters, and the Århus disturbances, which he called ‘pranks’.

BRUSSELS — Youths set fire to 15 vehicles across Belgium in a fourth night of violence that authorities said imitated unrest in France, prompting the far-right to call for the perpetrators to be deported.

Belgian Interior Minister Patrick Dewael said there had been about 50 incidents since the weekend but preventative measures including more police patrols had kept things under control, although he warned there were calls to step up the disturbances.


Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt told Reuters during a visit to Singapore that the burning of cars in Belgian cities were “isolated incidents” not comparable to the riots in France, which he described as a “very serious, serious situation”.


The far-right Vlaams Belang party — which won 25 percent of the vote in the northern Flanders region last year — called for the perpetrators to be deported if they were immigrants.

“(They) are no longer welcome in our country,” Filip Dewinter, a top party leader, said on his personal Web site.

“In the case of foreigners, they need to be expelled. In the case of foreigners who hold Belgian nationality, they need to be stripped of their nationality,” he said.