Police break up anti-lockdown protest in Bern

The public square in front of the Swiss parliament building was the site of a protest Saturday against the government's lockdown measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Keystone / Manuel Lopez

Demonstrators unhappy with measures to fight Covid-19 rallied in front of the parliament building in the Swiss capital on Saturday afternoon, before police intervened.


Bern cantonal police said it had asked the protesters to leave the Bundesplatz repeatedly and even threatened them with prosecution. Two hours after people began assembling, the police finally resorted to clearing the square. 

The police, who performed checks on several dozen demonstrators, did not say how many people had protested in defiance of the Covid-19 Ordinance, which bans gatherings of more than five people, among other measures designed to slow the spread of the virus. The local newspaper Berner Zeitung said there were about 300 participants.

Police are pursuing investigations into the incident.

On Friday police in Bern had broken up gatherings, including one of young people in small groups who were marching from the Rosengarten park to the Bear Park in the Old Town. 

Police also intervened in Zurich to break up small gatherings of May 1 demonstrators, although a rally attended by an estimated 400 people in Basel –Switzerland’s largest Labour Day protest this year – was tolerated by the authorities.

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