Copenhagen cannabis market torn down after shooting

Copenhagen (AFP) - Residents of a freewheeling, semi-autonomous Copenhagen neighbourhood on Friday tore down the stalls of a busy cannabis market after a brutal shooting prompted a public backlash.

A 25-year-old man late Wednesday allegedly shot two police officers -- critically injuring one of them -- and one civilian during a drug raid on Christiania, which was founded by squatting hippies in the 1970s and has a long history of openly trading drugs.

He died early Friday from gunshot injuries sustained during his arrest in a suburban area of the capital.

"The 25-year-old man ... died overnight in Rigshospitalet (hospital) from his injuries," the Independent Police Complaints Authority said in a statement.

The agency is investigating the incident because police used their guns during the arrest.

Police have said the man, named by media as Mesa Hodzic, had links to the radical Islamist group Millatu Ibrahim and that he sympathised with the Islamic State group, but that there was no evidence that extremism had inspired the shooting.

The drug trade in Christiania, focused on the main drag known as Pusher Street, has since long been taken over by criminal gangs from other parts of the city and police estimate that annual sales are worth up to one billion kroner (134 million euros, $150 million).

In a bid to deter violent criminals from coming to the neighbourhood, residents on Friday tore down the colourful open air stalls used by drug dealers and put up stickers urging the public to stop buying drugs in the area.

Police have repeatedly cleared the area in the past, only to see new stalls pop up hours later.

"The most important thing for us is to try to do something about the crime without turning to violence ourselves," Christiania spokesman Risenga Manghezi told public broadcaster DR.

Wednesday's shooting had prompted a backlash from Danish politicians and commentators, but on Friday Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen tweeted: "Well done Christiania. Now stand firm!"

By late afternoon, Danish media reported that cannabis was again being sold in the area, albeit on a smaller scale than before.

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