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Week in Numbers May Day, prisoners and food waste

May Day protester in Zurich dressed as a clown

Thousands of people turned out for May Day, like this protester in Zurich dressed as a clown.


Almost every article published by contains a percentage, an age, an amount of money or some other figure. Here’s a round-up of some of the most interesting statistics to appear in the past week’s stories.


The number of shipments of illegally imported medicines seized in 2018 by Swiss customs authorities  – three times more than the previous year. Erectile stimulants remained at the top of the list, followed by sleeping, diet and hair growth pills.


Police said 16,000 people turned out for May Day events in Zurich, which were marred by extremists lighting flares and damaging buildings and vehicles.  Big rallies and marches also took place in other major cities, with calls for higher salaries and increased efforts to achieve equal pay for men and women.


The number of proposals launched in Geneva aimed at removing embattled local minister Pierre Maudet from power. Maudet is under investigation for the alleged accepting of benefits.  


The number of prisoners in Swiss jails stayed steady at just under 7,000. Inmates in Swiss prisons are mostly men, mainly foreign nationals, while almost half have not yet been sentenced at trial, according to annual statistics released by the Federal Statistical Office.

2.6 million

A total of 2.6 million tonnes – that’s 190 kilos per person – of food waste is produced in Switzerland each year, the federal environment office reported. Two-thirds of this is avoidable. Private households and consumers are the biggest culprits, accounting for 38% of the waste.

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