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Police to press charges over anti-WEF demo

Police are to charge more than 150 demonstrators with breaching the peace following a foiled protest against the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Bern on Saturday.

The protestors began an unauthorised demonstration but were stopped by a massive police presence in the Swiss capital. Police said they acted because of concerns over violence.

In a statement on Sunday, the Bern cantonal police said that 153 people would be charged with breaching the peace, with some demonstrators subject to further charges, including violence and threats of violence against officials.

The protest, under the slogan: “Wipe out WEF”, had been called ahead of the WEF flagship meeting of political and economic leaders in the Swiss resort of Davos, which starts on January 25.

Saturday’s police action has come in for some criticism by some anti-WEF protestors. One group, AntiRep Bern, said in a statement on Sunday that it had been “disproportionate”.  Some political parties on the left have called for an investigation. However, centre-right and rightwing parties have welcomed the police intervention.

The Bern city authorities have also expressed their satisfaction. “There were calls to violence ahead [of the demonstration], which we had to take seriously,” Reto Nause, the city’s head of security, said.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR