Inger Støjberg talks to local residents on Nørrebro. Photo: Jens Nørgaard Larsen/Scanpix
Danish Minister for Integration Inger Støjberg exchanged views with passers-by - two of whom called her a "Nazi" and “fascist” - during a visit to a bar in Nørrebro, the Copenhagen neighbourhood known for its multicultural population.
Støjberg visited the neighbourhood to talk with one of several bar owners who say they have been threatened by local youths and anonymous vandalism.
Two young Danish woman shouted “Nazi!” at Støjberg as she stood outside Mucki Bar on Thorsgade in Nørrebro, Copenhagen.
After Støjberg asked the women to repeat themselves, they said “fascist” before walking away, according to a report by TV2. The women were stopped by the police shortly after and may face a fine for disturbing public order by swearing at a minister.
Støjberg also responded to the criticisms of passers-by on Nørrebro – mainly young non-ethnic Danes – who expressed their discontent with Støjberg and the government’s policies on immigration.
“You all have opportunities. You just need an education and to get on and find a job,” Støjberg told the crowd, according to a report in BT.
The minister later told BT that education and work was the only way to improve the social problems faced by Nørrebro’s youth.
“The only thing that will help is that they take part in Danish society. You can’t just hang around here all day and harass business owners. They should behave themselves.”
A number of the youths responded by claiming focus on the situation in the area was an overreaction.
“We get attacked by Inger Støjberg: 'education and a job, get on with it'. We have an education, we’re just relaxing at the same time. I completed upper secondary school (gymnasium) last summer. I’m now taking a gap year while I decide what to study," a young man named Ali told BT.
And you are supporting yourself...how?
“You come out here as soon as there’s a slight incident. This is populist politics. You’re making a mountain out of a molehill,” said a second young man, who wished to remain anonymous, according to BT.
Støjberg’s visit to Nørrebro included a meeting with the owner of Mucki Bar, one of a number of bars in the area said to have experienced threats and vandalism from local youths – some of whom have ostensibly claimed that the area falls under Sharia Law.
Mucki Bar’s owner Birgitte Fischer told Jyllands-Posten that bricks had been thrown through the bar’s window during opening hours and that protection money had been demanded from her and her husband, who co-owns the bar.
Heidi Dyrnesli, the owner of Café Heimdal in Nørrebro, said that intruders recently entered her bar and told guests to leave.
“Recently some young men came in and shouted that all the guests should leave. They then shouted that the place belonged to them and that Nørrebro is covered by Sharia, so alcohol is forbidden,” Dyrnesli told Radio24syv.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Inger Støjberg wrote that Nørrebro “is not and never will be” a Sharia zone.
“In fact, you are very lucky that it is not,” continued Støjberg as she addressed the accused vandals in the Facebook post, “because you will be given a fair trial once the police get hold of you.”
But restive youths and vandalism on Nørrebro is not a new problem and no serious cause for concern, say Copenhagen Police.
“The problem is not nearly as bad as the press make it out to be,” Chief Inspector Allan Nyring of Copenhagen Police told Jyllands-Posten.
“Of course, it is serious for the bars that are targeted, but we are dealing here with a small group of disaffected youths who, as soon as spring starts, decide to go out and show off. We often experience this problem at this time of year, but we manage it through dialogue and by punishing the responsible parties if necessary,” Nyring continued.
Nyring told Jyllands-Posten that youths between 14-16 years old are often the culprits when it comes to harassment of Nørrebro’s bars.
“The problem is two-fold. In cases of extortion, we work towards convicting those who are guilty. In cases of harassment, we can often solve things through dialogue with the disaffected youths. They are a group we know well,” Nyring said.