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Protestors take to the street to demand strict Swiss neutrality

Demo outside Swiss parliament building
Many protestors, accompanied by a group in white shirts and with cow bells, waved Swiss flags. © Keystone / Anthony Anex

An estimated 3,000 demonstrators in the Swiss capital, Bern, have come out against the exports of Swiss war materiel and economic sanctions in the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The protest outside the parliament building was called by an alliance of right-wing critics, including groups opposed to the government’s policy during the Covid pandemic.

Members of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party and conservative civil society groups as well as from the far-right addressed the demonstrators according the Keystone-SDA news agency.

They demanded a policy of strict Swiss neutrality.   

A week ago, a rally planned by a cross-party committee, trade unions and civil society groups from the opposite political spectrum was attended by more then 2,000 people in Bern. They called for more support for the people of Ukraine, effective implementation of sanctions and an active peace policy by Switzerland.

Zurich demo

In a separate demonstration on Saturday, an estimated 2,000 people took part in a street protest, organised by far-left groups  in the city of Zurich to mark International Women’s Day on March 8.

The participants called for an end of the “patriarchal system and capitalism”.

The unauthorised demonstration passed off mainly peacefully amid increased police presence.

A previous, illegal demonstration in Zurich three weeks ago had ended in clashes between security forces and protesters.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR