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UPDATE: Denmark drops push to get citizens to report coronavirus suspects

The Danish Patient Safety Authority on Tuesday removed a secure email it had set up where Danes could report on those they suspected of coronavirus infections, following a media outcry.

UPDATE: Denmark drops push to get citizens to report coronavirus suspects
Danish chief of police Thorkild Fogde has said that police will enforce the health authorities' orders. Photo: Philip Davale/Scanpix
Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said that the reporting system, which was first reported about on Tuesday, was too much of an infringement of human rights. 
 
“I became aware of this this morning,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon. “It was an initiative of [Patient Safety] Authority. We had told the authority that they should do everything they can. But here they went too far in relation to the freedom of citizens.” 
 
The reporting system was set up as part of the new enforcement powers granted to health authorities under the emergency law rushed through the Danish parliament on March 12. 
 
On the front page of the website of the Danish Patient Safety Authority, there was a section, now removed, which asked citizens: “Are you worried about the behaviour of an individual believed or presumed infected with Covid-19?”. 
 
Those who clicked on the banner were taken to another page where it told Danes how to report fellow citizens to the authority. 
 
“If an injunction is not followed, the Danish Patient Safety Authority can, if necessary, call on police assistance to enforce the injunction,” the text explains. 
 
The website then contained a link to a secure mailbox where citizens could send reports through their borger.dk, virk.dk or e-Boks accounts.  “This ensures that unauthorised persons cannot read the content,” the website reads. 
 
Under the March 12 law, the Danish Patient Safety Authority can order anyone to stay home in self-isolation, to go to hospital, or to take a test, even if they do not wish to do so. 
 
Anyone showing coronavirus symptoms, who has been in contact with someone who shows coronavirus symptoms, or who has even been in an area where the virus is at large, can be reported, and then issued an injunction if the authority deems it necessary. 

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PROTESTS

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

The chairwoman of the Police Association West Region has said that police special tactics, known as Särskild polistaktik or SPT, should be available across Sweden, to use in demonstrations similar to those during the Easter weekend.

Calls for special police tactics to be available across Sweden

SPT, (Särskild polistaktik), is a tactic where the police work with communication rather than physical measures to reduce the risk of conflicts during events like demonstrations.

Tactics include knowledge about how social movements function and how crowds act, as well as understanding how individuals and groups act in a given situation. Police may attempt to engage in collaboration and trust building, which they are specially trained to do.

Katharina von Sydow, chairwoman of the Police Association West Region, told Swedish Radio P4 West that the concept should exist throughout the country.

“We have nothing to defend ourselves within 10 to 15 metres. We need tools to stop this type of violent riot without doing too much damage,” she said.

SPT is used in the West region, the South region and in Stockholm, which doesn’t cover all the places where the Easter weekend riots took place.

In the wake of the riots, police unions and the police’s chief safety representative had a meeting with the National Police Chief, Anders Tornberg, and demanded an evaluation of the police’s work. Katharina von Sydow now hopes that the tactics will be introduced everywhere.

“This concept must exist throughout the country”, she said.

During the Easter weekend around 200 people were involved in riots after a planned demonstration by anti-Muslim Danish politician Rasmus Paludan and his party Stram Kurs (Hard Line), that included the burning of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.

Police revealed on Friday that at least 104 officers were injured in counter-demonstrations that they say were hijacked by criminal gangs intent on targeting the police. 

Forty people were arrested and police are continuing to investigate the violent riots for which they admitted they were unprepared. 

Paludan’s application for another demonstration this weekend was rejected by police.

In Norway on Saturday, police used tear gas against several people during a Koran-burning demonstration after hundreds of counter-demonstrators clashed with police in the town of Sandefjord.

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