Police forced to shut down coronavirus protests in Zurich and Bern

Police forced to shut down coronavirus protests in Zurich and Bern
A protester is carried away by police at a coronavirus protest on May 16 in Bern. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Police were forced to intervene in anti-coronavirus protests in Zurich and Bern on Saturday.

Police however said the demonstrations were smaller than those that took place last week – and had the poor weather to thank for the lower turnout. 

In Zurich, protesters had gathered at the city’s central Sechseläutenplatz, while in Bern demonstrators gathered in and around Bundesplatz. 

Peter Sahli, a spokesperson for the police in Zurich, told Swiss daily 20 Minutes “the weather was the best policeman today”. 

IN PICTURES: Inside Switzerland's anti-coronavirus lockdown protests

Sahli said the protesters were dispersed for gathering in groups of more than five people, which is still the federally mandated maximum. 

Unlike some other European nations, Switzerland has not put in place an exemption to the maximum group requirement for protests. 

In Bern, police said the protesters were persistent despite being frequently warned. 

“Although we had the slightest hope that consideration will be given and a forbidden demo will be dispensed with, based on the experience of the past few weeks, we are nevertheless required to be increasingly present,”

Noted far-right extremist Ignaz Bearth was removed from a protest rally in Bern. 

Smaller rallies also took place in the cities of Basel and Winterthur. 


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