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ZURICH

Extinction Rebellion attempt central Zurich blockade

More than 200 Extinction Rebellion activists, some dressed as clowns, attempted to blockade central Zurich on Monday in a bid to force the Swiss government to heed the environmental movement's climate demands.

Police detain a demonstrator affiliated Extinction Rebellion (XR) during a protest in center of Zurich
Police officers detain a demonstrator affiliated with global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) during a protest in the center of Zurich on October 4, 2021. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

XR urged its activists to return every day at noon to block traffic at three key strategic points in Switzerland’s financial capital, including a bridge and the crossroads of the city’s main shopping street.

Students and senior citizens were among those who descended on Zurich from across the wealthy Alpine nation, unfurling banners and stretching out large sheets of blue plastic symbolising the oceans suffocating with rubbish.

Others installed a ship daubed with climate crisis slogans, “because we are all in the same boat”, one activist said.

“We have children and are worried about their future,” said Genevieve, a teacher from Neuchatel who came with her physicist husband.

Demonstrators affiliated with global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) stage a protest in the center of the city of Zurich

Demonstrators affiliated with global environmental movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) stage a protest in the center of the city of Zurich on October 4, 2021. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

“We are a little afraid of being arrested because this is the first time we have taken part in civil disobedience.”

A retired humanitarian, who did not wish to give her name, said that the prospect of being arrested “does not scare me”, adding that “everything else, at the political level, did not work”.

In June, XR petitioned the Swiss government asking it to “officially” recognise the climate emergency and mandate a citizens’ assembly on “climate and ecological justice”, warning that its activists were otherwise prepared to engage in civil disobedience.

After an hour, the police ordered activists to retreat to designated areas to clear the way for trams on Zurich’s main shopping street.

A police statement later said 134 people were held before being released.

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ZURICH

Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

Switzerland’s Federal Railways (SBB) will be removing the ticket counter from nine stations in the cantons of Zurich, Vaud, Bern, Zug and Ticino

Swiss rail to close ticket counters in Zurich, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Zug

The SBB made the announcement on Wednesday, saying the decision was made due to a lack of demand. 

Instead, commuters will need to buy tickets from automated machines. 

In the canton of Zurich, the ticket stations in Dietlikon, Hinwil, Kloten, Männedorf and Oberwinterthur will be closed. 

In neighbouring Zug, Cham’s ticket counter will be closed, while the Herzogenbuchsee station in Bern will also go fully automated. 

MAPS: The best commuter towns when working in Zurich

In Latin Switzerland, Pully in Vaud and Biasca in Ticino will see their ticket counters closed. 

The SBB told Swiss news outlet Watson that approximately 95 percent of ticket sales are now made via self-service machines or online. 

The advent of navigation apps has meant the need for personal advice on directions and travel has fallen, particularly in smaller areas or stations with lower traffic. 

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