Easter march Give peace a space, say Bern activists

Somewhere over the Aare: Peace activists on Kirchenfeld bridge in Bern


About 450 people took part in Bern’s traditional Easter march on Monday. They called for solidarity with refugees as well as a halt to Swiss arms exports.

The theme of this year’s march was “Peace makes room – make room for peace”. Organisers demanded that international law improve transnational arrangements to ensure peace.

It is estimated that 51 million people worldwide are on the run, fleeing from violence and wars typically sparked by greed and power struggles.

Organisers of the Bern march criticised Switzerland for closing borders and making billions in profits by exporting arms. Last year, Swiss companies exported war materiel worth CHF563.5 million ($595 million) to 72 countries – an increase of 22% over 2013.

In 2013, the Swiss authorities received 21,465 applications for asylum, according to the Federal Migration Office. Of those, 3,167 people received asylum – a quarter more than in 2012.

Bern’s Easter marchexternal link is supported by several organisations and churches. Similar marches took place in Austria and Germany over the weekend.