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Anti-Turkish protesters briefly occupy Swiss parliament

Anti-Turkish demonstrators end their brief occupation of part of parliament

(Keystone)

Anti-Turkish protests have been held in Switzerland's biggest city, Zurich, and in the capital, Bern. Demonstrators clashed with police in Zurich and briefly occupied part of the Swiss parliament building to protest against conditions in Turkish prisons.

About 100 people, mainly Kurds, battled with police in Zurich, after security forces tried to stop a demonstration in front of the Turkish consulate.

The demonstrators threw stones at police, who responded by firing rubber bullets into the crowd.

Officials said several people, including a policeman, were injured in the clashes in Zurich. There was also some damage to nearby shops.

In Bern, the protesters gained access to parliament by joining a visitors' group. Once inside they barricaded themselves in a room, and began shouting anti-Turkish slogans from the windows.

Another group of demonstrators handed out leaflets in front of parliament, which is currently in winter recess.

Riot police surrounded the building but did not try to storm the room because the 12 protestors threatened to throw themselves out of the windows.

The incident ended peacefully after negotiations with a senior official in the foreign ministry. The Swiss ambassador in Ankara is expected to contact the Turkish authorities about their decision to storm prisons to put an end to protests by the inmates.

The protestors are believed to be Kurds of Turkish origin. Kurds have been staging a series of international protests about prison conditions in Turkey and proposals to transfer prisoners from dormitories to small prison cells where they fear abuse by the authorities.

swissinfo with agencies

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