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Learning English - Words in the News
 
05 March, 2007 - Published 16:24 GMT
 
Youth squat in Denmark demolished
 
The building had been used as a squatters' youth cultural centre for some 20 years.
Bulldozers are tearing down the building

Bulldozers have begun knocking down a building in central Copenhagen in Denmark, which has been used as a squatters youth cultural centre for some 20 years. The tearing down of the building caused violent riots at the weekend, as Julian Isherwood reports from Copenhagen:

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At eight o'clock sharp, masked workers began tearing down the building with large numbers of police at the ready to prevent any trouble. The cranes and vehicles being used were all painted over to prevent recognition of the company being used for the demolition. A small group of young people looked on as the building, which has been used as a squatters youth cultural centre for some twenty years, began to crumble.

Copenhagen's been relatively quiet for the past twenty-four hours following some of the worst unrest that the Danish capital's seen for decades. Demonstrations, burning barricades and cars, torn up cobble stones, molotov cocktails and police charges up to the weekend made some parts of the centre of Copenhagen look like a war zone.

In all, some six hundred and fifty people, many of them young foreign activists, have been detained by the police. And the courts have been working round the clock since last Friday to get through all the cases. Many have been remanded in custody for up to two weeks and the foreign nationals - predominantly from Germany and Sweden - are being deported.

Demolition did begin peacefully and the police spokesman said that one reason may be that many of the ringleaders of the unrest are behind bars, but he said the large numbers of police that have dominated the city picture since the end of last week, will remain there to prevent any further disturbances.

Julian Isherwood, BBC News, Copenhagen

Listen to the words

masked workers
employees wearing things (masks) to hide and/or protect their faces by covering them

to prevent recognition of
to stop people finding out, realising or knowing the identity of

squatters
people who live in and make use of a building or piece of land without official permission and without paying rent

unrest
protests, riots, disturbances, violence

decades
tens of years, e.g. squatters have been using the building for the last two decades - 20 years

barricades
things that are used to deliberately and temporarily obstruct or block a path, e.g. to stop people walking down a particular road

cobble stones
small round stones that are set in the ground to create roads or paths

molotov cocktails
simple bombs made up of bottles filled with fuel and a piece of cloth or paper in the end which is then lit and thrown to cause damage and start fires

remanded in custody
held by the police or in a special centre until the date of their trial in court

deported
forced to go back to the country they came from, making it illegal for them to return

 
 
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