COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) – Protesters erected burning barricades and set at least four cars on fire early today as a new round of violent street clashes hit Copenhagen, sparked by the eviction of squatters from a downtown building. At least 100 people were arrested, police said.

Hundreds of police officers in riot gear used tear gas to disperse the protesters, pushing away demonstrators and onlookers in order to allow firefighters to put out the blazes, which sent smoke billowing into the night sky.

One demonstrator was injured in clashes with police in the downtown Noerrebro district, according to the TV2 News channel. The city’s ambulance service said one person had been taken to a hospital.

Shortly after 1 a.m., protesters gathered near a square a block away from the house from which the squatters were evicted on Thursday. The protesters briefly clashed with police and erected the barricades which they set on fire along with four cars.

Across the downtown area, other groups of protesters pulled garbage containers out into the streets and set them on fire.

It was the second night of violent street battles. On Thursday night, demonstrators threw cobblestones, burned cars, lit fires and fought with police. Twenty-five people were injured and 219 were arrested.

The eviction angered youths who have viewed the building as free public housing for years. It has also been a popular cultural center for anarchists, punk rockers and left-wing groups, where performers have included Australian musician Nick Cave and Icelandic singer Bjork.

Justice Minister Lene Espersen said protesters “misused their right to demonstrate” when they became violent.

“I vigorously urge the young people and their supporters to regain their composure,” she said. “Their anger must not unleash violence and vandalism.”

In the southwestern Swedish city of Malmo, police arrested three people on Friday in connection with the Copenhagen clashes, the Swedish news agency TT said. They were held on suspicion of planning to participate in violent protests and possession of explosives and flammable material.

Sympathy protests were held in Hamburg, in northern German, and in Norway, Sweden and Finland.

The eviction had been planned since last year, when courts ordered the squatters to hand the building over to a Christian congregation that had bought it six years ago. The squatters refused, saying the city had no right to sell the building while it was still in use.

They have demanded another building for free as a replacement.


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