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Residents Of Danish Hippie Enclave Christiania Call For End Of Cannabis Sales Amid Rising Violence

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Once a paradise enclave for hippies, Christiania Freetown has turned into a battleground where gangs vie for control over the illegal drug trade. The residents now want the cannabis sale to stop.

In the wake of a fatal shooting incident that occurred last week, residents of Freetown Christiania, a commune in Denmark's capital, Copenhagen, which has become one of the main tourist attractions of the city for cannabis consumers, want to stop cannabis sales along its main street.

The shooting occurred in Christiania on Saturday, August 26. Danish authorities reported that the incident resulted in the death of a 30-year-old man and injuries to four others.

Inside a building in the Christiania neighborhood, two masked gunmen unleashed gunfire. It is suspected that the shooting is connected to criminal gangs. An 18-year-old was arrested on the same day and is currently in custody, while the search for the remaining perpetrators by the police is ongoing, according to several news websites.

Christiania has maintained its status as an anarchist commune since the 1970s, originating from hippies squatting in an abandoned naval base.

While recreational cannabis is illegal in Denmark, there has been an unspoken acceptance of it within the Copenhagen neighborhood of Freetown Christiania.

Authorities tolerated the illegal trade of cannabis and hashish until 2004, when law enforcement started a crackdown on drug-related activities. Despite this, the hashish and cannabis market has persisted, intermittently leading to outbursts of violence associated with criminal gangs.

In the enclave, residents lead autonomous lives governed by self-declared regulations, and it serves as a significant tourist magnet, drawing over half a million visitors annually. However, Copenhagen authorities don't acknowledge it as an independent town.

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As criminal activities escalate beyond the threshold of tolerance for residents, they are now determined to shut down illicit operations on Pusher Street, the primary hub for drug sales.

According to several reports, residents of Christiania attempted to obstruct the entrance to halt unlawful activities on Pusher Street three weeks ago. However, the blockade was short-lived, lasting only a couple of hours.

Saturday's shooting marked the fourth fatal shooting connected to drug trafficking since 2020 on the enclave's "Pusher Street." This surge in violence has prompted the community to appeal for government assistance.

The day after, Christiania's residents issued a press release urging government intervention to close down Pusher Street.

"Another shooting incident and another killing have shaken Christiania. This cannot continue. It must not continue. It should not destroy more lives," the press release reads.

Therefore, Christiania's Common Meeting decided that Pusher Street must be closed to prevent the proliferation of both sales and violence in the surrounding areas.

However, residents lack the necessary resources and request Danish authority to independently close and maintain the closure of Pusher Street.

Furthermore, residents proposed the establishment of a state-regulated cannabis market.

"Christiania has paved the way for Denmark's entire cannabis market for over 50 years. It is a historical period that is now coming to an end," the press release concludes.

About 900 people live in the 34-hectare district nestled in the heart of Copenhagen. More than fifty years ago, squatters dismantled the barriers of the Bådsmandsstræde military base on Amager Island, establishing a commune at the very core of Copenhagen.

In 1973, the Danish government officially granted Christiania to be a "social experiment," even though it was temporary. This gave Christiania some freedom to govern itself in an informal autonomy and extended to services such as postal facilities, waste disposal, and childcare centers. However, the Copenhagen police force remains unwelcome.

While self-identifying as "anarchists with rules," Christiania residents are now grappling with a situation that has spiraled beyond control.


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