Large turnout for Schaffhausen anti-Covid measures demo

Protestors on Saturday afternoon in Schaffhausen Keystone / Ennio Leanza

Almost 1,000 people gathered in the northern Swiss town of Schaffhausen to protest against government measures to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. The demonstration was peaceful, local police say.

This content was published on April 17, 2021 - 19:00

The demonstration, which was not authorised by the authorities, is the latest in a series of protests that have been taking place in Switzerland

Schaffhausen police said in a tweetExternal link on Saturday afternoon that 925 people took part. Children and dogs were also present. “For the most part masks are not being worn. The atmosphere is peaceful. We are also staying calm,” it said.

Town authorities had originally allowed the demonstration but withdrew permissionExternal link on Thursday citing fears there could be “disruptions to law and order”.

Officials were also concerned people would not be wearing masks, in defiance of government rules. This was the case in previous demonstrations in Altdorf in central Switzerland and in Liestal in the north-west. Demo organisers still sent out a call on social media for people to come to Schaffhausen.

Police intervention, youth frustrations

Last Saturday police had to break up the 500-strong Altdorf protest, firing teargas at a group of participants, who had defied a cantonal ban on demonstrations.

On March 20 nearly 8,000 people took part in the silent protest in Liestal against restrictions introduced to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.

There have also been episodes of unrest in the eastern Swiss city of St Gallen, involving mainly young people. Media reports linked the events to current Covid-19 restrictions, and the lack of social and cultural perspectives for young people.

Switzerland plans to further relax its Covid-19 restrictions from April 19, despite infections continuing to rise gradually.

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