Thousands of Danes Clamor Against Removing Christian Holiday for War Spending

Protesters gather on Christiansborg Square in front of the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen, Denmark, during a demonstration on February 5, 2023 against the abolishment of a public holiday in order to finance the country’s defense budget. InternationalIndiaAfricaDanish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen notoriously said that she saw no problem in working an extra day. However, tens of thousands of her compatriots begged to differ and have mounted a demonstrations to defend their beloved Christian holiday, which has been observed for centuries.Thousands of Danes gathered in the capital city of Copenhagen on Sunday 5 February to protest against the government’s plans to scrap a popular public holiday to help replenish the country’s war chest.According to the nation’s largest labor unions that organized the demonstration, at least 50,000 participants came together making this protest the biggest the Nordic country has witnessed in decades.

"The message is clear: remove the proposal," the leader of the nation's largest trade union Lizette Risgaard told Danish media, calling for negotiations to take place between the authorities and workers. "Everyone can see how great the popular resistance is," she added.

Her association, FH, started a petition against the proposal, which so far has gathered more than 465,000 signatures in a country of 5.8Mln.The so-called Great Prayer Day is a Christian holiday that dates back to 1686 and falls on the fourth Friday after Easter.Abolishing the holiday was first proposed in December in a bid to help raise tax revenues for higher military spending in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine, which swept Denmark’s stockpiles of weapons clean and emptied its defense coffers, as Copenhagen became one of Kiev’s most committed allies in Europe.However, the vast amount of aid sent to Ukraine scraped Denmark’s resources bare and endangered its ambition to meet NATO’s defense spending target of 2 percent of the GDP. According to the coalition government (uniting once-bitter rivals the Social Democrats and the Liberals), the DKK 4.5Bln ($654Mln) needed to meet the goal could be covered by the extra tax revenues raised by scrapping the holiday.However, the efficacy, practicability and usefulness of this widely unpopular move have been question by unions, opposition lawmakers and economists alike.MilitaryDanes Up in Arms Over Removal of Christian Holiday to Raise Defense Spending18 January, 06:43 GMTNevertheless, the embattled government – which as well as having to make a number of compromises between former enemies only holds a slim majority in parliament – remains hell-bent on pushing the Bill through regardless of the opposition.

"I do this with open eyes, and I think we need to be a little more honest in Danish politics," Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said, adding that she doesn't consider working an extra day as "problematic".

According to data from the OECD, Danes work fewer hours than most people in Europe.Russia’s Special Operation in UkraineDenmark’s Handover of Entire Stock of CAESAR Guns to Kiev ‘Really Hurts’ Defense, Gov’t Advisor Says20 January, 19:08 GMTRecently, Denmark opened up for providing Kiev with tanks, a move it previously shied away from. Overall, the West has poured tens of billions in arms assistance to Ukraine to the point of emptying its own arsenals and raising concerns of inadvertently enriching the black market. Moscow, for its part, has consistently stressed that military assistance to Kiev accomplishes nothing but prolonging the conflict and that western arms constitute a legitimate target.

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