Pubdate: Wed, 17 Mar 2004
Source: Copenhagen Post, The (Denmark)
Copyright: 2004 The Copenhagen Post


Copenhagen Police staged a full-scale raid of Christiania's notorious
Pusher Street, marking the first aggressive step toward normalization
of the area

On Tuesday morning, a daylong sweep of Christiania's Pusher Street
began with the arrest of some 40 people connected with Christiania's
marijuana trade. The raid marked the culmination of a nine-month-long
investigation of drug pushers and their suppliers in the Copenhagen
free-town. Police stated that the action was directed specifically at
drug dealers on Pusher Street, and not at Christiania in general.

Justice Minister Lene Espersen praised yesterday's

"I think Tuesday's action meshes beautifully with the government's
plans to legalise Christiania, and gives law-abiding Christiania
residents an opportunity to live in a different kind of neighbourhood
that gives room for diversity," said Espersen.

Espersen said yesterday's raid demonstrated to Christiania residents
that it was indeed possible to arrest the ringleaders of the area's
drug trade, without infringing on local residents. It also sent an
important signal that marijuana use--no matter how minor--is a
harmful, unlawful habit.

"There's been an unfortunate lapse in the public's understanding of
controlled substances. Far too many are under the misconception that
it's completely harmless to smoke hash, take ecstasy, and pop pills as
long as they don't do it too often. It's life threatening, and for
many people, it creates an addiction that destroys their lives," said
Espersen, adding that removing the drug street from Christiania would
eliminate a place for young, curious Danes to experiment with
potentially harmful substances 
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