Center Sandholm

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Center Sandholm, or Sandholm, is a public institution for asylum seekers in Denmark. It is located in Sandholm, Birkerød, Allerød Kommune. It is a former military barracks. and the largest reception center for asylum seekers in Denmark. The center's daily operations are run by the Danish Red Cross. It also serves as both a receiving and departure center, for newly arrived asylum seekers, and asylum seekers that have not received asylum and will eventually have to leave the country; however, this later group will be eventually be moved over to the Sjælsmark deportation camp.

Separated from the Red Cross facility, Sandholm also offers a branch of the Immigration Service, the National Police Immigration Department, and Ellebæk as penal institutions for detained asylum seekers.

History[edit]

The barracks in Sandholm are listed along with many other army barracks in Zealand after the Act of 1909 during the period 1909-12 by architect Viggo A. Thalbitzer and later expanded. From 1945-85, it housed the Danish Royal Life Guards. On October 1, 1989, it was taken over by the Danish Prison service, and they got the right to use the first buildings in the Sandholm camp for asylum seekers. The camp belonged to the Copenhagen Prisons until 2005.

Facilities[edit]

Center Sandholm houses approximately 500 residents. There are three types of accommodation: a building with family rooms with private bathroom, two buildings with 4-person rooms and common bathrooms and toilets in the corridor, and also 6 new buildings with double rooms with private bathroom. There are also laundry, cafeteria, health clinic, residents' phones and various tenant-led activities such as sewing, an info cafe, a women's group and bicycle workshop. Residents can either eat in the Center's cafeteria, or receive money so they may cook for themselves.

Newly arrived asylum seekers are offered a short course in Danish and knowledge of Denmark for everyday use, which are taught from within Center Sandholm.

School age children go to the Danish Red Cross' school in Lynge, or the local public schools. The Center Sandholm also has a playgroup and smaller club for older children.

Demonstration[edit]

On October 25, 2008, more than a thousand people marched from Allerød train station to Sandholm in protest. The purpose of the protest was to "close the Sandholm camp, and protest against the racist camp that it is a part of." The demonstration was advertised as "confrontational, but non-violent", but it was also planned to cut a portion of the camp's fence into pieces and destroy "checkpoints." At the operation site, participants were asked:

"Use your imagination: Climb up on the roofs, unlock the checkpoints, carry banners and stencils, balloons, and graffiti and flags and pliers."

After demonstrations from the Allerød station to Sandholm, there would be music and speeches, after which it was planned that the demonstrators were split into a legal and an illegal part. For the illegal part, a small group of protesters would attack the fence. Action's website announced in advance:

"At one point, activists who will help to cut or tear the fence down, break away from the main demonstration and begin civil disobedience based part of the action. It will be signaled clearly when this part of the action begins."

This was signaled with purple plumes, and it was called into by megaphones to the illegal part of the demonstration was to follow the activists who ran the front with tabs. The police had set up a plastic fence in front of the camp to prevent protesters from getting to the camp's wire fence. Since the approx. 200 masked activists forced the temporary fence and attack the fence, they were driven back by police who used tear gas. According to the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten some of those arrested, very provocative towards the police, possibly to divert police attention from other activists.

The organizers of the demonstration have accused the police of police violence, but also declared that the operation was a success because it managed to destroy parts of the fence. The police have denied the accusations and claimed that tear gas was the best instrument of power in the situation and that they were attacked from demonstrators.

Sabotage against the S-Train

The demonstration was two hours late because most of the participants came with S-train from Copenhagen. A signal cable at Lyngby Station were cut approx. pm. 10:45, which resulted in the shut down of the commuter train for several hours. A group who called themself "Train Time" which is a group on the right-wing took responsibility for this action

An asylum seeker in Sandholm appealed through a Facebook group on the action was called off because most residents were worried and had come to Denmark to seek protection from war and violence. Centerleder Chemnitz from the Danish Red Cross said that the residents were insecure, especially families with children. Families were therefore offered to stay elsewhere, while the demonstration took place.

Youth Red Cross called on the people behind the Action Close camp to engage in asylum policy by volunteering in asylum centers, a spokesman for the Action Close camp rejected this idea.

Critics have noted that residents in the Sandholm camp are free to move in and out through the gate, so there should be no reason to cut a hole in the fence. Port Control prevents unauthorized contrast from entering.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°52′21″N 12°24′00″E / 55.87250°N 12.40000°E / 55.87250; 12.40000