Rioters light up Copenhagen neighborhood
November 8, 1999
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (CNN) -- Danish police have begun an inquiry into their response to a violent rampage late Sunday that left a Copenhagen neighborhood in shambles.
About 160 people ransacked the working-class neighborhood with stones, iron bars and homemade gasoline bombs. Nearly every shop in the area was vandalized, and photographers and residents were beaten.
The rioters set several cars ablaze, including one with the driver still inside. Onlookers rescued the driver, who suffered only minor injuries.
Police arrested a 24-year-old man and charged him with arson, theft and rioting. Police said they expected to make more arrests.
The riot was 90 minutes old when police arrived on the scene, using tear gas to disperse the crowd. No serious injuries were reported and no arrests were made.
Police believe the riot was sparked by a court ruling last week to extradite a Danish-born Turk for repeated violent crimes after he completed a jail sentence. Many of the rioters were thought to be second-generation immigrants, authorities said.
Denmark's Minister of Justice, Frank Jensen, told police-director Hanne Bech-Hansen that he wanted to know why the police took so long to deal with the situation.
Jensen said he wanted answers by Tuesday; Bech-Hansen immediately launched an inquiry into the matter and said he might have a preliminary report by later Monday.
Flemming Steen Much, the officer in charge of the action, said that the police held back until more officers arrived at the scene.
CNN Denmark editor Bo Mikael and Reuters contributed to this report.
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