Copenhagen Wakes Up to New World Order as Police Cover City
It’s a city where mothers are used to leaving their babies in prams outside cafes and cyclists can bike through parliament square without encountering a single security guard. Now, Copenhagen is full of heavily armed police officers and the constant sound of sirens as the government warns citizens that things are about to change.
The Danish capital, which topped a 2014 Monocle ranking of livable cities, is in a state of shock after attacks that erupted on Saturday are being investigated as a terrorist act. Two people were shot dead and five police officers wounded. Security services gunned down the suspect after he shot at them on Sunday following a manhunt that lasted through the night.
Danes now need to brace themselves for a new reality, Justice Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a press conference on Sunday. “There’s no room to be naïve,” she said. “These are dark forces that want to hurt us.”
As European leaders declare their determination to preserve the region’s way of life in the face of extremism, the risks of doing so are proving daunting. A record security operation is now under way in Copenhagen with units from all over the country sent to the capital. The shootings in Denmark may have been inspired by the January massacre in Paris at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, police said. About 10,500 soldiers have been deployed in France since that attack.
Some European cities are canceling planned events in response to the threat. The city of Braunschweig in Germany called off its carnival after receiving reliable information there was “concrete danger of an attack,” police said on Sunday. Danish police detained two people on Monday thought to have provided the suspect with weapons. The arrests follow raids conducted in the capital.
One of the Copenhagen shootings resulted in the death of a Jewish man standing outside a synagogue. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expects that the “wave of attacks” against Jews in Europe will continue and called for a “massive immigration” of Jews to Israel from Europe.
Copenhagen’s Jewish school said it would be closed on Monday, due to the security risks. Denmark’s Islamic Council condemned the attacks. All religions “must distance themselves from” acts of terror, the council said in comments published by TV2.
Standing next to Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Frederiksen said people living in Copenhagen need to be aware “there will be a lot more police” on the streets. “This will continue for a while. But we’re experiencing a capital city that looks different now.”