Anti-WEF demonstrators march through Bern

Protestors burned a house of cards, sybmolising the global capitalist system. © KEYSTONE / PETER KLAUNZER

Several hundred people marched in the centre of Swiss capital Bern on Saturday afternoon in a demonstration against the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos.

This content was published on January 19, 2019 - 18:21

The demonstration, called for by several autonomous left-wing groups, began in front of the city’s main train station before moving through the city centre. Bernese police, who did not authorise the march, monitored closely as flares and smoke bombs were ignited and a symbolic house of cards was set alight.

Journalists reported an attendance of around 500; on social media, the left-wing groups talked of 1,000.

Unlike a planned march in Davos next week by the youth wing of Switzerland’s social democratic party, which plans to highlight issues such as climate change, Saturday’s march was opposed to WEF and capitalism more generally.

“The infinite greed for profit and power that is seen at the Forum in Davos has no limits,” announced the demonstrators, whose avowed goal is to overthrow the capitalist system. “Let the ruling class feel our anger,” they wrote in the call to action.

Further southeast, around 100 marched against WEF in Geneva, while 40 turned out in Lausanne.

In recent years, rallies in Bern and elsewhere in the country have passed off relatively peacefully – including to protest Donald Trump’s Davos visit.

Further back, in 2003 for example, anti-globalisation demonstrations turned violent.

The march comes just a day after thousands of secondary-school students staged strikes and marches in several Swiss cities in a bid to spur action to tackle climate change.

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