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Protesters march against Covid certificate

The protests, here seen in front of the parliament building, went on until c9pm Keystone / Marcel Bieri

More than 1,000 people demonstrated against extending the use of the Covid certificate in the Swiss capital, Bern, on Wednesday evening.

This content was published on September 9, 2021 - 09:40
Keystone-SDA/SRF/SWI swissinfo.ch/ilj

They accused the government of introducing mandatory vaccination “through the back door”.

On Wednesday the Swiss government announced that it would extend the use of the Covid certificate (which shows a person is vaccinated, has tested negative or recovered from the coronavirus) to indoor public spaces such as restaurants, cultural events and leisure activities. The measure, which was widely expected and applies to individuals aged 16 and over, will come into force next Monday and remain valid until the end of January 2022.

The protest was organized – and promoted on social media – by several organisations that have long fought against official Covid-19 measures during the pandemic. Demonstrators held up Swiss and cantonal flags and marched through the city centre. Some also held up banners bearing slogans protesting against the certificate or Covid vaccinations.

The demonstration was accompanied by two police vehicles. Bern cantonal police said on TwitterExternal link that officers undertook checks on several individuals “in connection with the various provocations around the demonstration”. In nine cases people were ordered to leave. The protest was over by 9pm.

Justification

Meanwhile Interior Minister Alain Berset, who is responsible for health matters, has been giving interviews defending the certificate extension decision.

He underlined that the virus was circulating widely in Switzerland, causing a high incidence rate, with about 3,500 new cases a day being recorded.

“There is currently a real danger that our hospital system will be overloaded,” Berset told Swiss public television SRFExternal link on Wednesday evening. “That is the reality. The alternative to the certificate would be months of closures. So the certificate is not the problem – it is the solution. It allows us to regain our freedom.”

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