Fireworks, bells and illuminations have marked the beginning of 2017 across Switzerland. Events in Zurich, however, were marred by violence in the city’s main station.
In Zurich around 130,000 people turnout out to celebrate the New Year around the lakeside. The high point was the 15-minute long firework display, which started around 20 minutes after midnight. Fog partially obscured the view.
Cantonal police reported that a fight broke out in Zurich’s main station, resulting in the arrest of 11 men. Alcohol was said to be at the root of the incident. Nobody was seriously hurt, but the police had to intervene several times to protect paramedics, said the police force in a statement.external link
Several thousand people gathered on Bern’s Munsterplatz square to listen to the bells ring in 2017. The twelve strikes at midnight were done by hand, with full peals ringing out afterwards.
Basel saw fireworks over the Rhine river, with free Glühwein mulled wine being handed out. There were some incidents though, including 500 people having to be evacuated from a nightclub in the city at around 5am due to the sound of an explosion. Police said that an unknown person had let off a tear gas-like substance on the club's second basement level. Some people needed medical attention.
In Geneva, residents were invited to a dance on the Mont-Blanc Quai. There were also fireworks. Also in a party mood with people in Lausanne, who, as has been traditional since 1904, gathered on the Esplanade de la Cathédrale to enjoy the cathedral illumination in a festive atmosphere with champagne and mulled wine.
However, some southern regions of Switzerland, including Italian-speaking Ticino and some parts of Graubünden, decided to do without fireworks due to the dry weather in December which had increased the risk of fire. Both cantons had experienced forest fires in the last few days.
Some places had increased security following the attack on the Berlin Christmas market on December 19, 2016. In Basel, for example, access was restricted with barriers or vehicles. Other cantonal police forces had already boosted security measures as a result of the Nice attacks in July 2016.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/ilj