As police officers and fire fighters worked to conatin another night of violence and fires, Denmark’s Prime Minister Fogh Rasmussen urged an end to the violence which has ravvaged schools and private property for over a week. “We have to stop saying it’s society’s fault. We need to stress that it’s the responsibility of the young people and their parents.” The protests were sparked by an incident earlier this month in Copenhagen when a police offier allegedly assaulted an elderly Palestinian immigrant. It is now estimated there have been 379 fires and at least 11 schools have been vandalized. Most of the schools were closed for mid-term holidays which undoubedly prevented students from getting hurt.
The police have no clue as to whether there was any organized plot behind the outbreak or was it simply a spontaneous outpouring of anger. Prime Minister Rasmussen places blame on youth and parents and wants young people to focus on education and getting a job. These are worthwhile aims, but, most probably, there is also need to address job opportunity needs of youth and to rethink what is happening in schools. Has Denmark developed programs to ensure the police represent all sectors of society?