Protestors in Bern call for Swiss to toughen stance with Iran

Demonstrations in solidarity with anti-government protests in Iran have taken place all over Swiss cities since the death of Mahsa Amini. Keystone / Anthony Anex

Several thousand people gathered in front of the federal government building on Saturday demanding the Swiss government take “significant measures” against the Iranian regime.

This content was published on November 5, 2022 minutes

The demonstrations were initiated by the Free Iran Switzerland organisation, which in a press statement said that Swiss civil society has clearly come out in solidarity with the anti-government protests in Iran. However, it criticised the Swiss government for turning a blind eye and said it's time for a change in Swiss policy towards Iran.

In particular, it called on the government to adopt all sanctions announced by the US, EU and Canada. Swiss politicians from the socialist and green parties spoke at the demonstration. One parliamentarian cut her hair while speaking to protestors as a sign of solidarity.

Last week, the Swiss government decided not to follow the EU and impose sanctions on Iranian individuals after Teheran’s crackdown on protests following the death of Mahsa Amini, a young Kurdish woman who died after being taken into custody by the Iranian morality policy for not wearing a head scarf.

The Swiss government on Wednesday said the decision takes “into account all of Switzerland’s domestic and foreign policy interests, including Switzerland’s good offices in Iran.”

Switzerland has condemned the use of force by the Iranian security forces and called on the Iranian government to protect Iranians’ right to freedom of expression.

However, the government has been under pressure to do more. In an open letter published in mid-October, 100 Swiss high-profile people from the culture and science world called on the federal government to impose sanctions on the regime in Iran and to support the democracy movement. 

Demonstrations have taken place in several Swiss cities over the past several weeks in solidarity with anti-government protestors in Iran.

According to various reports some 300 people have tied at the hands of security forces during the protests in Iran.

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