Protests against Turkish military involvement in northern Syria took place for the third weekend running in Switzerland as around 1,000 people demonstrated in the capital, Bern.
The demonstrators said they were marching in support of the self-proclaimed Kurdish state known as ‘Rojava’, an area of northern and eastern Syria that borders Turkey. The purpose of the demonstration was to protest against the "war of aggression contrary to international law".
This follows the self-immolation of a Kurdish man, who set himself on fire outside the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) headquarters in Geneva on Wednesday – apparently in protest against the Turkish military action.
Turkish troops have occupied a corridor of north-eastern Syria to create a “safe zone” along the border with Turkey. A fragile ceasefire has been brokered by the United States and Russia following scores of deaths.
Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis has called the incursion of Turkish troops a “violation of international law”, adding: “We hope that the latest ceasefire will be respected and taken as an opportunity to negotiate a de-escalation and political solution.”
Before the internationally negotiated truce, the Swiss government had called for Turkey to implement an immediate ceasefire in Syria.
Last weekend several thousand demonstrators in the cities of Geneva, Bern and Lucerne called for an immediate end to the violence. The previous weekend, thousands gathered in Zurich and Bellinzona with the same message.
Saturday’s demonstration in Bern was largely peaceful with occasional firecrackers and smoke bombs detonated, reported the Swiss News Agency Keystone-SDA.
Estimations about the number of Kurdish immigrants in Switzerland vary widely between 15,000 and 60,000.