No, they were not celebrating the Norwegian Constitution Day but protesting against the Danish government’s proposals for social and labour policy reforms in a series of demonstrations carefully planned and organised by the Danish TUC and supported by the Social Democratic Party.
According to news reports some 70.000 turned out on the traditional venue for political protests, the open square in front of Christiansborg Castle, while around 30.000 people participated in demonstrations around the country. (The police estimated the turnout in Copenhagen to about 35.000 people.)
The main focus for the protests were the proposals to lower benefits for unemployed 25-29 year olds and to increase the age limit for the special Early Retirement Benefit.
Two interesting observations: The chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, appeared in the crowd in Copenhagen, and the Social Democrats and the Danish People’s Party engaged in a fight over which of the two parties would be most likely to support the government’s plans to make cuts in the Early Retirement Benefit.
In this case the intention behind this war of words is to place the blame for possible cuts with the other party. The complication arises because the Danish People’s Party is the government’s parliamentary basis while the government has declared that it would not pass a social and labour market policy reform without the active support of the Social Democrats. Finally, the SDP and the DDP compete head to head for the blue-collar vote. Food for game theorists.