University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Copenhagen students in power station action

University Post was in the thick of it, when around 200 activists, including U of C students, tried to break in to one of the Copenhagen power plants

On Friday 25th the world entered ‘ecological debt’. This means that every subsequent day of this year, all the resources we use, and all the waste we produce is in excess of what the planet can replenish or repair.

This is according to the British think tank, New Economics Foundation, which had announced World Ecological Debt Day.

The activists behind ‘Shut It Down’ could not of course have predicted this to the exact date, but they saw it fitting that their protest should take place the day after.

Prefers to be anonymous

So around 1500 environmental activists from Shut It Down marched towards the Vattenfall power plant on Amager Saturday. Around 200 entered the grounds, and were detained by the police.

The University Post was there, and among colourful banners and dreadlocks, met an anthropology student from the University of Copenhagen. The anthropology student, who wishes to remain anonymous, had an active role in Shut It Down.

Why are you actually doing this? Do we not pretty much all agree that reducing our CO2 emissions is the way forward?

»We don’t think it seems like anything is happening. We don’t believe the politicians are taking enough action, and that’s why we have to take matters into our own hands and close a coal power plant. To show them that we’re serious and that we think it’s unacceptable. Things have to speed up, the politicians could be so much more active,« she says.

Laying all their cards on the table

Shut It Down had made their intentions clear on their website, stating what they would do and when. Even down to the point of making their mobile action and back-up group, the Greens, an official one.

In other words, they knew they were going to get busted:

»The reason we’re not five ninjas sneaking into the power plant to destroy it, is to show that there are many people who disagree with coal production. That’s why it’s a large demonstration where lots of people have the chance to show that they want to take action,« the anonymous anthropology student says.

It was largely a symbolic protest.

Marianne Reedtz Sparrevohn, chief of communication for Vattenfall, the owner of the plant, had even stated that Copenhagen would not go without electricity even if the plant was shut down. Shut It Down were relying on their action standing out as being the first of its sort in the North.

The media showed up in great numbers. People may generally switch off when presented with good causes, but everyone notices a scene. Previous clashes between police and protestors had secured Shut It Down the attention they needed.

Climate change is politics and money

I asked the anthropology student if their protest was apolitical.

»No!« she said.

»It was the capitalists that created the problems, so they’re not the right people to solve them. It’s in their interest not to do so.«

»Climate change is politics and money, but it affects all of us so we can’t just sit and idly watch.«