Against the backdrop of raging forest fires in Brazil, several hundred people in various Swiss cities have taken part in demonstrations against the destruction of large forest areas.
About 300 people took part in a rally in Zurich, according to the organisers. They moved from Platzspitz Park near the main railway station to in front of the Brazilian consulate. The protest march was scheduled at short notice and there was not enough time to apply for a regular permit. However, the police issued an emergency permit.
In Geneva, about 100 people demonstrated in front of the Brazilian consulate against the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro and demanded the rescue of the Amazon jungle.
Demonstrations also took place in Basel, Bern and Lausanne. In Bern, around 100 people took part in the spontaneous and peaceful rally at noon, which ran from the railway station to the Brazilian embassy. The protest was directed at the abuses and human rights violations in the Amazon region. At 1pm the rally ended with a minute’s silence.
Also on Friday the European Union piled pressure on Bolsonaro, with Ireland and France saying they could block a trade deal and Finland urging a ban on Brazilian beef imports.
Bolsonaro has rejected what he calls foreign interference in domestic affairs in Brazil, where vast tracts of the Amazon rainforest are ablaze in what is known as the burning season.
Environmentalists have blamed deforestation for an increase in fires and accuse the right-wing president of relaxing protection of a vast carbon trap and climate driver that is crucial to combating global climate change.