The Covid-19 pandemic means only rallies with fewer than 300 people are currently permitted in Switzerland. Nevertheless, at the weekend larger rallies took place across the country, calling for equality between men and women and stronger measures against racism. The police did not intervene.
On Saturday anti-racism protests were held in Zurich, Bern, Lucerne, Lausanne and St Gallen. An estimated 2,000-4,000 people gathered in Bern, with most participants appearing on parliament square dressed in black. “Black lives matter” was chanted repeatedly, as was “The lives of black people count too”. This was in memory of George Floyd, a black man who died at the hands of a white police officer in the US on May 25.
In Zurich several thousand mainly young people demonstrated and marched through the city centre. Following the example of protests in the US, the demonstrators took the knee several times. Many participants wore masks. The police did not break up either of these unauthorised events.
It was the second consecutive week in Switzerland with rallies against police violence and racism.
On Sunday, exactly one year after the women’s strike, demonstrators made demands for gender equality at rallies in numerous Swiss cities. More than 1,000 people gathered in Zurich. In Basel about 500 women blocked a bridge. Bern was the scene of a “feminist march” along the route of the 2019 rally. Demonstrations were also held in some places in French-speaking Switzerland.