Protesters block day-care centres in Denmark

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Friday, September 29, 2006

A standoff is forming in Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city, located mainly in the Region Central Jutland, with politicians seeking to make budgetary cuts for 2007 on one side, and parents, paedagogs and elderly-care professionals on the other.

The dispute broke out on Friday, September 22, when day-care centres across the city were blockaded by parents, teachers and other city council employees. At one point, the city council asked the police to intervene to break the blockades of the day-centres, although a last-minute change of heart by the council averted direct confrontation.

The parents feel that the quality of day-care centers has declined, which they attribute to budget cuts. Further ire was seen when Mayor Henning G. Jensen "magically" found an additional 60 million DKK for his budget. The protesters saw this as evidence that he had tried to hide money.

Denmark's Interior Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has also voiced concern that the mayor knew that the money was there all the while.

The strike is ongoing and has now spread widely in Denmark and even some localities near Copenhagen, the Danish capital, have been experiencing strikes by public sector employees.