Large unauthorised rally held against Covid restrictions

Maskless demonstrators gather in Rapperswil-Jona Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

Some 4,000 people have gathered at an illegal demonstration in Rapperswil-Jona, northeastern Switzerland, protesting against Covid-19 restrictions. The police didn’t break up the peaceful rally, citing proportionality.

This content was published on April 24, 2021 minutes

The central Fischmarktplatz was packed with people and practically no one wore a protective face mask, according to the Swiss News Agency Keystone-SDA.

The St Gallen cantonal police said they had spoken to small groups of people and issued more than 45 orders for people to leave. They also turned away a bus full of demonstrators.

"Freedom!" Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

Police spokesman Hanspeter Krüsi defended the lack of forceful intervention by saying officers had had to weigh up various factors. In addition to the disregard of the demonstration ban, they also had to take into account the possibility of serious property damage and injury, as well as losing control of the situation.

The police would be criticised no matter what they did, he added.

More than 9,900 people in Switzerland have died in connection with Covid-19.

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