Can people enjoy a protest march?
In Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, protesters were carrying banners and posters — things usually used to drive home the point. Others were busy distributing pamphlets. They were indeed devoted the cause
However, there was a palpable difference to the overall approach. What made the protest absolutely different is the fact that it had managed to drive home a serious issue in a very casual and nonchalant manner, with the protesters actually enjoying their job and having a good time
In Copenhagen life is back to normal and it is business as usual. In early September Denmark became one of the first countries in the European Union to lift all restrictions against the coronavirus within its borders. With more than 80 percent of its people fully vaccinated against the oriental virus a digital vaccination certificate is no longer required to visit cafes, nightclubs, restaurants and stadiums.
Going on vacation to this beautiful Scandinavian nation was kind of a no-brainer. While the mask requirements are very much in place while travelling within Germany as we approached Copenhagen we saw many people taking off their face gear. Once we handed landed in the Danish capital we were also convinced to take the cover off our faces. It felt strange to begin with, there was nonetheless a sense of relief. Finally one could walk on the streets sans any fear.
One of the things we have got used to over the years in Germany is the weekend protests. While there may be a protest on any given day, Saturday is usually the preferred option. On that day protesters usually surround the City Hall (Rathaus) area or the main street of a city to drive home their point. The issues may range from something as serious as climate change to something as trivial as protesting for the ‘supposed’ Kashmir cause somewhere in Europe. Yes, it is a fact. Everyone loves to protest. But does everyone enjoy it? Well, not exactly.
This is exactly where Copenhagen surprised us. There was a Saturday protest in the Danish capital during our stay as well. Even as we approached the Nyhavn entertainment district a huge procession made us stand in a corner. While a protester’s explanation that it was a protest against the “coronavirus measures” was far from convincing — considering all the restrictive measures are no longer in place, what surprised us was the atmosphere in general.
It wasn’t as if the protestors had gathered in a particular area like the City Hall — called Radhus in Denmark. They were marching across various quarters of the city. We may have bumped into them in Nyhavn but they carried on to other parts. Besides, what made it interesting was the casual approach of the protesters. Some could be seen chatting, others were basically doing casual cycling, a few were busy smoking, a couple were giving their babies a stroll on the pram while many were busy with their respective electronic devices.
What also made this protest absolutely different is the music. It felt like a DJ playing at some club. There was a series of good foot-tapping numbers, with a few people dancing to it. They kept changing the music. Whosoever was making the audio changes definitely had a great ear for music. It was the tunes that made us follow the protestors for some time. Imagine joining the protests to enjoy the music.
There was no doubt that the protesters were enjoying the drill and making most of their participation, irrespective of the cause they were out there for. It was unlike any other protests that we are used to. It felt like a party was on in full swing. It is perhaps the Danish way of getting vocal in a very casual tone.
It was not that there’s not an iota of seriousness about the protest or devotion to the cause. Some of the protesters were carrying banners, flags and posters — things usually used to drive home the point. Others were busy distributing pamphlets to passersby like us. The protesters were indeed concerned about the cause, make no mistake. However, there was a palpable difference to the tonality. It was the overall approach that made the entire procession seem so different.
Even as we met a friend a few minutes later we couldn’t help but ask him to explain a bit about this unique manner of protesting.
“In Denmark protest is a way of expression of public opinion,” he began, before proceeding to elaborate on the topic. “You take the necessary permissions and go ahead with it. There is absolutely no problem.
“However, it doesn’t have to be either dull or violent. There can be some music and people can definitely have some fun during the protest. There’s absolutely no harm.”
While we were heading back to our hotel we could see that the protesters had moved to another part of the city. There were a few placards lying on the ground. Maybe a few had dropped out. Maybe some had headed to the bar after a hard day’s work. Doesn’t matter. They had managed to drive home a serious issue in a very casual and nonchalant manner, with the protesters actually enjoying their job. And that is a rarity.