Bern police hand out four-week bans to coronavirus lockdown protesters
The Swiss capital of Bern has banned several protesters from engaging in demonstrations against the coronavirus lockdown for the next four weeks.
As reported by Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes, protesters who received the bans are not allowed to attend any type of gathering anywhere in the capital for the next four weeks.
Police said seven orders have been issued over the past week.
Bern bans repeat protesters
It is the first time such severe orders have been handed out by police in the canton.
The standard period for a protest ban is 48 hours, however longer bans were given to those who disobeyed the 48-hour orders and again participated in a protest rally.
In addition to the seven month-long bans, over the past week police issued 80 48-hour orders to protesters.
A spokesperson for the police told 20 Minutes that a those who received an order were banned for people who organised prohibited rallies, or who had participated in more than one.
Despite a relaxation of lockdown restrictions, groups larger than five are not allowed to meet anywhere regardless of the purpose.
Bern Police put out an official statement to remind the public that gatherings of all kinds are prohibited.
Bern: Veranstaltungsverbot gilt weiterhinhttps://t.co/tmvp1Pbknw— Kantonspolizei Bern (@PoliceBern) May 14, 2020
The restriction is to be wound down at the earliest on June 8th, with a decision to be made at a meeting of government authorities on May 27th.
A police officer removes a sign saying 'a dictatorship is not solidarity' at a protest in Bern. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Crackdowns across Switzerland
Unlike in neighbouring Germany, where protests have been allowed in groups of up to 80 and larger groups have been tolerated by police, Swiss authorities have cracked down on anti-lockdown protesters.
Protests have been particularly common in the German-speaking parts of the country, which have been comparatively less affected by the coronavirus.
Other than Bern, protests have been seen in Zurich, St Gallen, Basel and Winterthur.
On several occasions, police moved in to break up the protests when they exceeded the maximum of five people or refused to comply with social distancing requirements.
Protesters were arrested and taken away for questioning. In St Gallen, 33 people were fined and expelled from public spaces in a May 16 protest against coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
In Zurich, 57 orders were given to protesters over the past week, requiring them to leave the city centre for 24 hours.