On Sept. 2, 2016, residents of Christiania, a Danish free town in Copenhagen, started tearing down stalls selling cannabis on the town’s main street, as reported by Reuters. The residents decided to take this action after two law enforcement officers were shot in the town while trying to arrest a known drug dealer on Aug. 31.
While Christiania, known as “the town” to Danes, was founded as a self-governing society by a group of hippie squatters on deserted military grounds in 1971, it has become Copenhagen’s fourth biggest tourist attraction, including a cannabis trade that generates approximately $150 million per year.
“I’m not a smoker myself, but I am pro-legalizing. There are so many smokers in Denmark, and it cannot be fair that only 600 residents of Christiania should deal with all the trouble of supplying the entire country,” said Tanja Fox, a resident of Christiania.
According to Danish police, Christiania’s drug trade has been taken over by larger gangs; police occasionally shut down some of the cannabis stalls, but many open back up the following day.
“If they start building up the booths again tonight, then well, we’re here tonight as well. The plan is to continue tearing them down until it works,” said Helene Schou, a resident of Christiania.
“I’m not saying hash should disappear completely from Christiania, but we needed a kiosk and what we had was a supermarket.”
As Christiania’s residents are attempting to take a stand against organized crime, one law enforcement officer and one civilian bystander are reported to be in stable condition while another law enforcement officer remains in critical condition, according to The Guardian.
The suspected shooter later died after succumbing to gunshot wounds sustained when police were attempting to capture him on Sept. 2.