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Policemen acquitted over G8 bridge incident

The two anti-G8 activists on the way to the trial in Nyon Keystone

A court has acquitted two Swiss policemen accused of injuring a demonstrator during an anti-globalisation protest on Lake Geneva in 2003.

The lawyer for the two demonstrators involved is considering an appeal saying the verdict is a legal scandal.

Judges on Friday said the defendants could not be blamed for causing bodily harm through negligence to a British demonstrator after policemen intervened to end the blockage of a motorway bridge near the city of Lausanne.

The court found that the officers made a mistake when they cut a rope that was stretching across the road – and to which the two protestors were attached and dangling from the bridge.

But judges ruled it was not a punishable offence and merely the result of a series of unfortunate misunderstandings.

The two protesters, who were part of a group of anti G8 activists, were trying to stop delegates from reaching a summit of the world’s most industrialised countries and Russia in nearby Evian in June, 2003.

When police cut the rope, apparently because of a lack of communication between the two officers, one demonstrator fell 25 metres and was badly injured.

The other protester, a woman from Germany, was unhurt because other activists stopped her from falling.


In a first reaction, the protestors’ lawyer criticised Friday’s ruling as “a stab in the back of the victims”.

During the five-day trial, he had argued that the police interference amounted to more than negligence. He also demanded financial compensation.

The prosecution had dropped all charges against the policemen. It said the risky nature of the demonstration had outweighed the outcome of the police interference.

The defence lawyers had demanded an acquittal.

In 2004 a court found the demonstrators guilty of obstructing traffic, while an investigation into the two police officers was dismissed through lack of evidence.

swissinfo with agencies

A summit of the world’s seven most industrialised countries and Russia, known as the G8, took place in Evian, France, from June 1-3, 2003.

Anti-globalisation protests took place around Lake Geneva to coincide with the event.

Switzerland and France undertook joint security measures. In Switzerland, police were drafted from different language regions. They were assisted by 5,000 troops.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR