Hundreds rally against Swiss commodity meet

Hundreds of demonstrators were standing off with riot police on Monday night outside a Lausanne hotel where a commodities conference organized by the Financial Times got under way.

Hundreds rally against Swiss commodity meet
The Beau Rivage Palace, home to the commodities conference. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The three-day FT Global Commodities Summit, being held for the second year at the Beau Rivage Palace hotel in Ouchy, brings together traders, bankers and executives from natural resources groups.

But on the conference’s opening day militants protesting against commodity speculation marched from the centre of Lausanne to Ouchy, by the shores of Lake Geneva.

Around 800 people participated according to police, while organizers estimated 1,500 people.

The demonstration was peaceful, however some participants later attempted to breach a security perimeter around Beau Rivage Palace, local media reported.

Fifty riot police assembled in front of the five-star hotel to prevent further trouble, the ATS news agency reported.

Protestors gathered opposite the police but no confrontations took place, the agency said.

“No to the summit of tight-fisted employers” and “no to commodity dealers” participants in the march shouted, ATS reported.

Among those involved in the march were members of a bicycle “caravan” who are cycling across Switzerland to promote organic, independent and local agriculture.

The demonstrators decried the “pillaging and exploitation of nature and workers”.

“It’s not by accident that this summit is held here,” Jean-Michel Dolivo, from a group called SolidaritéS Vaud is quoted as saying by ATS.

“More than 400 trading companies are headquartered or have offices in Switzerland,” Dolivo said.

His organization maintains that commodity speculation drives up the prices for basic foods and causes corporate grabbing of farmland. 

“We are not going to leave in peace these people who are starving others who want to do their business in complete discretion,” Dolivo told those at the rally.

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Hear ye, here ye! This Swiss city is looking for a town crier

Can you carry a tune? Are you a night owl? If so, this job posting in Switzerland may be up right up your (cobblestone) alley. Here’s how you can submit an application for this… very high position.

Hear ye, here ye! This Swiss city is looking for a town crier
The hat and coat are optional for the job. Photo by Lausanne Tourisme

As far as unusual employment opportunities go, this one from Lausanne is — quite literally — tops.

The city, which employs one of Europe’s last remaining town criers, is looking for people to fill this position on part-time basis.

What’s a town crier?

In Lausanne’s case, it is a person who announces the hours every night between 10 pm and 2 am from the bell tower of the city’s imposing Gothic cathedral, a landmark overlooking the roofs of the picturesque Old Town.

The workplace: Lausanne Cathedral. Photo by Lausanne Tourisme

The person who will assume this position will continue a tradition that this city in the canton of Vaud has cherished since 1405.

These are the requirements for the job:

  • To watch over the city each night
  • Announce each hour on the hour between 10pm and 2am in a melodious voice (in French, but knowledge of foreign languages is a plus)
  • Be able to climb 53 stone steps to the cathedral’s bell tower
  • Not have a criminal record
  • No falling asleep on the job
  • Have a business apprenticeship certificate (we are not sure why)

This is 365-days-a-year job, but the new hire will share the position with other criers.

Interested? This is how you can apply.