President Micheline Calmy-Rey was forced to interrupt her May 1 speech in Zurich due to noisy heckling from a group of anarchists the audience.
The incident occurred shortly after the president began to address the 10,000 people who had turned out for the traditional May 1 demonstrations for workers rights.
Calmy-Rey was forced to leave the speaker’s podium while organisers confiscated the protesters’ megaphone.
Resuming her speech, the president said Swiss energy politics had been changed by recent events in Japan. She said that contrary to media reports, a majority in the cabinet favoured ending Switzerland’s reliance on nuclear energy.
Calmy-Rey said the Swiss should continue to fight for better working conditions and lamented the level to which Swiss salaries had stagnated in recent years while top-earners continued to receive bonuses.
“It’s intolerable,” she said.
May 1 demonstrations were held on Sunday in several major Swiss cities, including Zurich, Geneva and Lausanne.
Speaking to some 500 demonstrators in Thun in canton Bern, Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga defended the free movement of people and called on the country not to attribute all its problems to immigration.
“We should be confident enough to know that we can surmount these kinds of problems within our country,” Sommaruga said.
swissinfo.ch and agencies