National anti-racism demonstration called off

A national demonstration against racism has been cancelled, less than a week before it was due to take place in the capital, Berne.

This content was published on September 11, 2000 - 13:14

The organising committee, Open Hearts, said the meeting - scheduled for Saturday - was being called off because two rock stars, who were supposed to attend the rally, could not attend.

The American rock singer, Tina Turner, and the British musician, Phil Collins - both of whom live in Switzerland - were booked to be the main attractions for the demonstration.

A spokesman for the organisers said it was impossible to set up an alternative programme at short notice for Saturday. But he did not rule out the possibility of staging a nationwide event later in the year.

A similar demonstration, planned for the same day near Lucerne, is going ahead as planned. The rally is being organised and supported by left-wing groups, the Green Party, trade unions, as well as anti-racism groups.

The idea of a nationwide demonstration was launched following a perceived rise in racist and rightwing extremist incidents in Switzerland over the past few months.

On 24 September, the Swiss electorate will vote on a proposal to limit the number of foreign residents to 18 per cent. This people's initiative has been criticised by the government as inhuman.

swissinfo with agencies

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In compliance with the JTI standards

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