Critics of Swiss Covid policy continue to protest

Demonstrators in Winterthur on Saturday, September 18. Keystone / Michael Buholzer

Several thousand people gathered in Winterthur (northern Switzerland) on Saturday in opposition to the current measures to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

This content was published on September 19, 2021 - 13:06

Several groups backed the demonstration, including the so-called “Freiheitstrychler”, who had also organised a protest in Bern on Thursday evening.

As opposed to Thursday’s event – which escalated and led to a strong police response – the gathering in Winterthur went off relatively peacefully, local police reported.

The demonstrators marched through the city carrying banners criticising what they saw as the government’s “dictatorial” covid measures; some of them directly targeted health minister Alain Berset. There were also quite a few religiously-themed banners, according to a journalist from the Keystone-SDA news agency.

Police estimated the turnout in Winterthur as several thousand.

Against violence

On Saturday morning, the “Freiheitstrychler” group published a press release in which they rejected any responsibility for the violence in Bern on Thursday night, when some demonstrators set off fireworks and threw objects towards the parliament building, and began rattling at a protective fence.

The group, distancing themselves from “any type of violence”, criticised the Bern police, both for how they handled the protest (i.e. they didn’t do enough to clamp down on violent counter-demonstrators), and the “propagandistic” labelling of the event as an “attack on the federal parliament”. This phrase was used by the head of security in Bern, Reto Nause, who drew parallels with what happened at the US Capitol last January.

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