28 May 2012

Do not enter!

Recently four kids from Jutland took a wrong turn in an iffy area of my neighborhood, by Folkets Park (The People's Park). They circled the block once too many, according to a group of at least ten maladjusted gang-types, and were severely punished for their mistake. They were pulled out of the car and beaten, with one of them stabbed so bad that he nearly died. I mean: what the f*ck? And nobody saw anything, of course. Even though it was in broad daylight, and the sounds must have been terrible. 

Despite this being a famous area for these types, and the fact that this has happened before (one Italian tourist was even killed nearby, years ago), we no longer have a local police station in the area. In the one place where we need it the most. 

My reaction is to go about things as if there is nothing to be afraid of. I refuse to be bullied, be it by politicians or maladjusted locals. But today I passed through the area, scouting from my bike as I always do for Spyo on the rooftops, and other inspiring traces of life. And then I got my first threat: Hey, piss off, bitch! (Believe me, this is the nice translation) On a good day, I would have confronted them and talked it out, but I was overheated, and I had a bad feeling about them. Instinct told me to just get out of there fast.

But now I am pissed off. Who do they think they are? And how can they be allowed to terrorize a whole area of Copenhagen? No wonder the adjacent People's House have a hard time making ends meet. Only last week I had this discussion again with a friend of mine: would you tell out of town visitors to stay away from this area, or not? She stands firm on no. I would feel remiss if I didn't. I Copenhagen!? I can't believe that it has come to that.

Vintage Armsrock

Armsrock 2009

Armsrock 2009

In street art terms this is vintage Armsrock, from 2009. Crazy good!

I still think about talking to some sort of representative of these guys. Is that even how it's done? Maybe they are just afraid that I am taking their pictures. Which I would be happy to reassure them, I am not. Any ideas?

The recent incident in the news:
The Copenhagen Post the update

PS! Someone mentioned in the comments that it would be a pity to discourage visitors from experiencing Nørrebro. So to be clear: don't miss my favorite part of Copenhagen, there is so much to see here. The caution pertains only to the specific location of Folkets Park (map). And Blågårds Plads after dark, just to play it safe. The rest of Blågårdsgade is all ours, the cosiest place in town, day and night.

22 comments:

  1. Bah, den er svær.
    Jeg siger altid til vores kunder at der ikke er nogle decideret farlige steder i København, men måske er det på tide at sige "på nær et"?
    Fuck, det er trist.

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    1. Jeg gad ihvertfald godt at vide det, som turist. Hvis de kan føle sig truede af jyske turister og kvinder der cykler igennem gaden i fuldt dagslys, er ingen sgu' da sikre? Arh, hvor det pisser mig af!

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  2. Åh, det er så ærgeligt, at det skal være sådan!

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    1. Så trist. Det er som om nogen har stjålet et stykke af København, og nu holder det som gidsel. Min by. Jeg elsker den, hver en tomme.

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  3. Fra The Copenhagen Post:

    "Witnesses reported to police that the assailants may have believed the three young men and one women in the car were members of a rival gang. Folkets Park is known to be a hangout for Blågårdsbanden, a street gang which has long been at war with the Hells Angels.
    As the black Mercedes made its way through Nørrebro, a group of 10 -12 young men surrounded the car and shouted,
    "Are you AK 81?"
    AK 81 is a known support group for the Hell's Angels.
    When one of the men responded, "What if we are?", the victims were pulled from their car and attacked."

    Situationen i Folkets Park er ingenlunde ideel, men det er nok en meget god tommelfingerregel, at hvis man konfronteres af en gruppe potentielle bandemedlemmer, så skal man måske ikke skabe tvivl om, hvorvidt man tilhører en rivaliserende bande.

    Og så har den i øvrigt ulykkelige sag til gengæld medført løfter om genåbning af nærpolitistationen: http://nyhederne.tv2.dk/article.php/id-50246480:nørrebro-glæder-sig-over-ny-politistation.html - så er det jo bare om at holde baconen op på sine løfter!

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    1. Uha, det er et skråplan, det dér. Det svarer i princippet til at sige at letpåklædte kvinder har bedt om at blive voldtaget. Jeg kan ikke og vil ikke acceptere at man kan blive trukket ud af en bil og nær slået ihjel fordi man ikke er på samme hold/har sagt noget forkert. Og det skræmmer mig ærlig talt næsten lige så meget som akten selv, at der findes folk der har den holdning, at det er forståeligt.

      Og hvad var min forbrydelse så? At cykle igennem gaden og se lidt for mærkeligt på en væg? Jeg ser kunst, de ser mistænkelig opførsel. Er jeg så selv ude om de øretæver jeg får næste gang? Det er fandnme så langt fra ideelt som det overhovedet kan være!

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  4. It is sad! I would be honest with visitors and tell them what is up and then leave it up to them. In this case, at least, they are going into the situation with their eyes open.
    I am notorious for telling people off when they are being bullies, ie: my friends are sometimes embarrassed to be with me ;), so I will refrain from giving advice on that point. No one has the right to intimidate someone else, especially from enjoying an otherwise beautiful day out. Who the heck do they think they are? Awful! (Stepping off soapbox....) :)

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    1. Ha, me too. My friends have learned to embrace that part of me that won't keep quiet in the face of bullies. Or at least they are not (as) shocked when I let out a good howl. I just know that you and I will get along great. :D

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  5. While I don't know particularly of any personal crimes (such as people directly attacking other people) committed in my neighborhood recently, I feel like our traffic has suddenly gotten worse over the last few months, and there have been several fatal or nearly fatal collisions (both where a person outside a car was killed, and where a person inside a car was seriously injured), as well as a couple of collisions where nobody was seriously injured. So far this year in Oregon, 100 people have died in traffic (mostly people in automobiles), and we're not even halfway through the year. We live right near a freeway that runs through Portland, and for about the last month or so, we've been hearing sirens on the freeway almost every day, sometimes multiple times per day. Doesn't exactly help to make you feel more secure and safe.

    I feel much the same as you about being bullied, etc. I feel I must live as usual, despite external pressure that would suggest otherwise (honestly, this is a significant factor in my not wearing a bicycle helmet - an active refusal to be afraid of something that is not dangerous, despite active efforts to portray it as such). I think it's important not to be intimidated, because if we allow someone, whoever it is, to scare us into our homes and out of public space, then it will only get rapidly worse, because public space will become solely the domain of those people doing the intimidating, they will have free reign of it, and it will become even that much harder to reclaim it.

    So, don't let go of it in the first place. I don't know exactly how to go about that in terms of contacting officials or whatever, but definitely look into what you can do to help the public space remain public. If nothing else, maybe you can get people in the neighborhood to do something about it, if the officials won't.

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    1. It is funny (as in: not) how bullies come in different shapes, but the feeling is the same. It is about spreading fear, and having your way. I recognize it in traffic, but it is not personal the same way, as when someone targets you like they did. That voice inside that told me to just get out, probably saved me from trouble (I still can't figure out what the hell I did to intimidate these guys?), but at the same time it feels like I caved. Which is the exact opposite of what I believe is right. But maybe this is the best way to handle it, to bring it out in the open, and put a big spotlight on it.

      Really there should be flash mobs in response to this. When they beat up four Jutlanders in a black Mercedes, the following day there should be hundreds of Jutlanders circling the block in black cars. And harrass a girl on a bike, and have hundreds of girls on bikes the next day, going back and forth. I would be part of such a flashmob any day!

      Any change will have to come from the community, the police can only do so much. In any case I will pass by there daily, because it is where I live, and who the hell are they to plan my route, anyway?! Ugh. I am not letting go of my city, no worries. :-)

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    2. I do sometimes feel it very personally in traffic, as I have been shouted at by people in cars quite a few times to "get the fuck out of the way," (including the small residential street in front of my apartment) and have even had one person stop, get out of their car, and come yell at me (I was riding in front of him, and he gunned it past me, passed me very closely, just to stop at a stop light. As he was passing, I gestured at him like "what are you doing?" He took that as a threat, apparently.)

      I guess it's amazing what people can find threatening or offensive.

      I love your idea of flash mobs, I would also participate in something like that, for sure. Just a show of presence to say "this is not YOUR space."

      It's good to know that there are other people out there who have that kind of reaction to intimidation - here it seems most people just react by 'protecting' themselves, so I feel a little bit crazy sometimes that this kind of behavior makes me angry, indignant, and stubbornly defiant :) Thanks for reminding me I'm not crazy :)

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    3. You are so welcome (and back at you, haha). That is my favorite part of blogging: to learn that you are not alone.

      Besides what is really crazy is to climb into full protection mode and not confront the issue and standing up when injustice is done. If you ask me.

      On aggressive behavior in traffic, you definitely have it worse than us Copenhageners. At some locations during rush hour, I see cars outnumbered by bikes, much like the old pictures from a hundred years ago, it is fantastic! I should try to get a picture of that soon, and just photoshop the hysterical helmets out, hahaha. Traces of yet another bully. :-)

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    4. Here during rush hour, you would have to photoshop out almost everyone on bicycles, then :) It would look like I'm the only person riding a bicycle to work here! :) I think it's actually the same bully as the one shouting at me from inside the car. Or at least, it goes back to the same source.

      It's pretty interesting, during rush hour and during the rainy parts of the year, the percentage of people wearing helmets and 'gear' of all sorts is significantly higher than when the weather is nicer, or for instance, if we go out to dinner on a weeknight, we'll see quite a few people riding without all of that. I think it's those people who identify as 'bike commuters' that tend to really get into it with the gear and everything. It's serious business being a bike commuter.

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    5. Ah, but I would only remove the helmet. And maybe replace it with something interesting. Collage style, haha. Little things like that keeps me endlessly entertained. :D

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    6. Replace it with different kinds of birds :)

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    7. Or giant popcorn. Or foamy clowns noses. Hahaha.

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    8. Or those giant multi-colored clown wigs! Or Christmas trees. Or smørrebrød :)

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    9. (Also, this is cathartic, knowing I can say all of this and not get yelled at seriously for being irresponsible. Thank you again) :)

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  6. Absolut nej! Du kan støde på den samme type tosser overalt på Nørrebro, og jeg synes det ville være ret ærgeligt, hvis turister pludselig ikke så Nørrebro mere.

    Men jeg kender det, du prøvede, den afmagt du sikkert følte. Man bliver på én og samme tid pissebange og skidearrig. Som du siger: hvad FANDEN bilder de sig ind? Men du gjorde det rigtige ved at smutte.

    Men din følelse skal også nok gå over, og du skal ikke være bange for at køre derned igen. Det handler ikke om at vise, hvem der er boss, men blot at det også er din by, og du absolut intet skadeligt eller truende foretager dig.

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    1. Ja, det er nemlig også min by (og det hedder "Folkets Park", ikke?), og jeg kører jo forbi igen, det kan slet ikke undgås, fremover bliver det bare med spændte antenner.

      Min advarsel til turister går ikke på hele Nørrebro, men på Folkets Park specifikt, og Blågårds Plads efter mørkets frembrud, bare for at være på den sikre side. Nørrebro er fantastisk, det ville da være helt bims at udelukke hele bydelen, bare fordi der er to isolerede pestbylder på kortet.

      Det må jeg vist hellere få tilføjet...

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  7. Ooooh... the flas mob idea is great! Name the time and place and I'll go cycling there with you. Then we can both tell them off ;) Hehe!

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    1. Ha, I really think it would work. :-)

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