A small, but important, event was held in the area of Nörrebro in Copenhagen on September 23. It is an area with some social problems and is also home to Hells Angels and immigrant gangs.
The reason for the event has its roots in an incident that took place a few weeks ago: the little sleepy Café Viking that has been in the neighbourhood forever was visited by a not-very-friendly young man who demanded money as part of an obvious protection racket.
But café owner Jane Pedersen decided that enough was enough, gathered her courage and went to the media, as well as police, about the threat. This has led to a massive outpouring of expressions of sympathy, and her business is blooming like never before.
Community support peaked on Sunday with a little street festival under mottoes like: “Ja til öller, nej til böller” (yes to beers, no to bullies) and “Nej til vold, ja til sammenhold” (no to violence, yes to unity).
And the atmosphere was characterised by openness and tolerance.
The incident has attracted attention to the issue. It turned out that quite a few other shopkeepers in the area had also been threatened and received similar demands.
After Jane Pedersen went to the media some politicians saw a chance to create publicity for their own agenda. An ultra right wing politician wanted to pay the Café Viking and Jane Pedersen a visit. But Ms Pedersen said this politician was not welcome at her café, adding that she would not let this situation be used as a platform for spreading extreme attitudes.
On the contrary, she said that for her it was important to spread the message of openness, tolerance and understanding.