High-profile climate protest put to end

Police put an early end to the planned week-long climate protest outside the Swiss parliament building after demonstrators ignored several ultimatums to leave the public square. Keystone / Anthony Anex

Police have broken up a two-day protest by activists in the Swiss capital of Bern against perceived inaction by politicians against climate change.

This content was published on September 23, 2020 - 09:03

Security forces moved in on an illegal camp set up by the protestors on a square outside the Swiss parliament building.

About 100 people were held for questioning during the operation, which began in the early hours of Wednesday, according to the Swiss news agency, Keystone-SDA.

The operation was carried out calmly and peacefully according to a police spokesman.

However, the demonstrators criticised the city government for allegedly refusing to acknowledge a “necessary and legitimate protest”. Throughout the operation, the demonstrators sang and chanted "Climate protection is not a crime", according to witnesses.

The protestors had ignored several ultimatums by the authorities to leave Parliament Square and set up their tents elsewhere in the city.

Political rallies are banned on the square while the Swiss parliament is in session. A majority of the parliamentarians on Monday demanded police put an end to the protest.

The protest was organised by a coalition called Rise up for Change, which is supported by several environmental groups and left-wing politicians who are calling for “climate justice” and “an immediate reduction of carbon dioxide emissions to zero by 2030”.

The Swiss government aims to reach zero CO2 emissions by 2050. A legal amendment to the federal CO2 law is under discussion in parliament.

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