The riots which started six nights ago (Feb. 9th) in Nørrebro have spread out to the rest of Copenhagen and other cities around the country (see Google map of the fires). Witnesses in one case described the rioters as "second generation immigrants". The riots included burning cars and trash containers, throwing molotov cocktails at schools and municipal buildings, and throwing stones at police and emergency services. I will not be listing every car set aflame, but I try here to give a general overview of what's been happening, as reported in Denmark's major newspapers.
Schools in and around Copenhagen were the target of molotov cocktails Thursday night. The worst hit was the Værebroskolen in the Copenhagen suburb of Bagsværd, where ten classrooms were burned down. The fire brigade was called in to deal with at least 20 fires in the city. Berlingske Tidende offers a picture gallery of the fires in Greater Copenhagen.
Police are being accused of using racist language against immigrant-background youth during the recent nights of unrest in inner Nørrebro. There are complaints of needless ID checks. Social workers were also accosted by the police and treated harshly. One of them reported that though he showed his ID, he was searched and forced to take down his pants.
There were disturbances in other parts of Denmark as well. North-Zealand police received reports of 7-8 cars burning in Kokkedal in the evening. Later the situation escalated with container and car fires in Farum and Birkerød, all in North-Zealand. The police don't know the motive behind the attacks but say the rioters are clearly inspired by the exposure in the media.
In Aarhus there were also riots, concentrated around Brabrand, but there also cases of container fires in Risskov and Viby. One person was arrested for throwing stones at the police.
During the Friday prayers imams in Aarhus and Copenhagen will be urging young Muslims to stop the violence and riots.
Sources: Berlingske 1, 2, 3; Politiken 1, 2, 3; Nyhedsavisen (Danish)
All together there were 110 reports of arson Thursday night, however according to the police it was a much calmer night than previous nights. Police say that parental groups not only patrolled the streets, but also met with the youth in advance. Khalid Alsubeihi of the "father's group" in Nørrebro said he told the youth he understands their anger and frustration but that this isn't the right way to express it. Police commissioner Lars Borg was pleased with the group's efforts and their results.
Danish Justice Minister Lene Espersen called the rioting completely unacceptable and said that in a democratic society people must express themselves in non-violent means. She said there will be zero tolerance towards the rioters.
Integration consultant and local Copenhagen politician Manu Sareen says that the youth feel they have nothing to lose. These youth are marginalized and feel excluded from society. Though the Muhammad cartoons contribute to the reasons for the riots, they had started during the weekend. The youth are not especially religious and seek religious fellowship only because they feel excluded.
Sources: TV2; Berlingske Tidende 1, 2; DR (Danish)
See also: Copenhagen: Riots continue, Copenhagen: Riots caused by boredom, Copenhagen: Riots