Europe

Copenhagen police detained climate protesters illegally

A court in Denmark has ordered police to pay compensation to 250 protesters who were arrested during last year's UN climate change summit in Copenhagen.

The court said they were entitled to between 5,000 (£569) and 9,000 kroner (£1,025) for "illegal deprivations of liberty" and "inhumane" treatment.

A lawyer for the Copenhagen Police Department said it would appeal.

Some 1,900 people were detained during the large-scale demonstrations, 250 of whom then sued for wrongful arrest.

Many were among the 905 people taken into custody on 12 December, after a group of black-clad protesters threw stones at police officers and public buildings during a march attended by up to 100,000 people.

They had their hands tied behind their backs and were forced to sit on a road for hours in cold weather, with virtually no access to drinking water or toilet facilities, before being transported to a temporary jail.

At the time, the police said that after a so-called "black bloc" had put on masks - an illegal action at a demonstration in Denmark - they had decided to "seal off" a group of protesters from the march.

The mass arrests had "produced a huge amount of pressure" on officers responsible for transporting and receiving detainees, they added.

The City Court of Copenhagen said the police department had been right to arrest troublemakers, but that there was no proof that 178 of the plaintiffs were among them or posed a risk.

"The court found that the conditions of the deprivation of liberty were degrading and therefore violated the European Convention on Human Rights," it said, adding that they would receive 9,000 kroner.

The remaining 72 plaintiffs were wrongfully arrested between 11 December and 16 December, and were awarded 5,000 kroner.

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