Swiss police use rubber bullets to disperse crowd at ‘illegal’ street party

Police in the Swiss capital Bern said they used water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of mostly young people holding an illegal "street carnival".

Swiss police use rubber bullets to disperse crowd at 'illegal' street party
Police broke up a gathering similar to this one, in Bern. Photo by AFP

Several hundred people gathered late Saturday in the northeast of the city around cars blaring music and floats.

Police said they intervened when those taking part began heading toward the city centre and throwing bottles and stones at officers.

It was not immediately clear why the gathering was deemed illegal.

Demonstrators “set up barricades and set off fireworks”, a police statement said.

After several warnings, police said they used water cannon, rubber bullets and a type of irritant spray to stop the procession reaching the city centre, to protect the officers and prevent further damage.

Police also made several dozens identity checks. 

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Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”