The Battle of Ryesgade was a nine-day series of street fights in mid-September 1986, in the Copenhagen street Ryesgade. It was the most violent event in a long-standing conflict between the Copenhagen city council and the city's community of squatters. Faced with an ultimatum to leave their illegally occupied housing or face eviction, the squatters instead fortified the streets around their building so strongly that it became a cop-free zone. They took advantage of this lack of control by burning down a building belonging to the Sperry Corporation. For nine days, massed police unsuccessfully attempted to evict the squatters. The civil disorder was of a magnitude never before seen in Denmark. After communicating a manifesto through the media, the defenders finally abandoned the squat and dispersed without being apprehended.
Throughout the 1980s, the Copenhagen city council and property owners came into conflict, both violent and ideological, with squatters. At this time, the squatters in Denmark had organized into an active and well-funded movement with left-wing overtones. It started in Copenhagen, where a group of young people began to take over empty buildings, using them for free housing and as alternative cultural and community centers. The youngsters were made up of a mixture of punks, left-wing activists, and unemployed teenagers, mostly from the working-class area of Nørrebro.
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