COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Copenhagen’s mayor on Monday urged foreigners not to buy weed in the city’s Christiania neighborhood where a 30-year-old man was shot and killed and four others injured two weeks ago due to gang turf wars fighting over the marijuana trade in the area.
The Aug. 26 killing was the latest in a bloody feud between rival gangs, the Hells Angels and the outlawed Loyal to Family. Both are trying to monopolize the sale of cannabis in Christiania.
On Friday, a 28-year-old man, affiliated with the Loyal To Family gang was arrested in relation to the shooting.
The sale of marijuana is illegal in Denmark.
“The spiral of violence at Christiania is deeply worrying,” Copenhagen Mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen said. She called on “the hundreds of thousands of visiting tourists and the many new foreign students who have just moved to Copenhagen to stay away and refrain from buying weed or other drugs at Pusher Street.”
Christiania has become one of Copenhagen’s biggest tourist attractions and many of the visitors are foreigners.
“It may seem innocent to buy weed for a festive night out but think about the fact that your money ends up in the pockets of criminal gangs who shoot in our streets and put innocent people in danger,” Hæstorp Andersen said.
A day after the latest deadly shooting, inhabitants of Christiania called for Pusher Street where drug-selling booths are abundant to be closed. Last month, they tried to close down the street on their own using heavy machinery which masked men, believed to be drug peddlers, removed.
City officials have not offered concrete solutions to the drug trade in Christiania. Police have torn down the drug-selling booths several times before, only for them to pop back up.
Last October, a man selling marijuana in one of the aptly named Pusher Street’s marijuana booths was shot dead. In 2021, a man was shot and killed at the entrance to the same street.
In 1973, hippies started squatting at a former naval base creating the Christiania neighborhood. They followed flower-power ideals popular at the time; wanting free cannabis, limited government influence, no cars and no police while painting the buildings in psychedelic bright colors. There are nearly 700 adults and about 150 children inhabiting the area.