Climate activists protest across Switzerland

People protesting in the Swiss capital Bern on Friday Keystone / Anthony Anex

Police cleared climate activists demonstrating in Bern and Zurich on Friday. Demonstrators gathered in 15 cities across the Alpine country calling for a more ambitious national climate strategy.

This content was published on March 19, 2021 - 14:38

Groups of protestors carried out a sit-in on Waisenhaus square in Bern’s Old Town on Friday. The Bern authorities had given the green light for the climate protest but on condition that the number of people taking part did not exceed 15 in order to comply with Covid-19 regulations.

Around 300 protestors were asked by police to leave the square. The police later intervened to disperse the crowds and carried out ID checks.

The police also dispersed around 200 people who had gathered on Sechseläuten square in the centre of Zurich.

Climate demos, mainly sit-ins, took place in a total of 15 Swiss cities on Friday to coincide with international protests in 50 countries under the banner #NoMoreEmptyPromises.

The Swiss government wants the country to be climate-neutral by 2050. But this strategy is not ambitious enough, according to critics. The climate strike movement wants to see this target advanced to 2030. At the beginning of the year, it presented a 377-page action plan outlining how Switzerland could achieve this goal.

Smaller scale

Once a regular feature on Fridays prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, climate strikes restarted again last September but at a much smaller scale.

On September 25, 2020, over 2,000 people took part in a climate rally in Bern, just days after police broke up a climate protest by activists in front of the Swiss parliament building.

On January 17 last year more than 10,000 people from all over Switzerland joined an anniversary climate strike, which was attended by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. This demonstration was held to mark the one-year anniversaryExternal link of the climate strike movement inspired by Thunberg.External link

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