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Swelling numbers Climate rally rescheduled to avoid Swiss election

Climate demonstrators

Switzerland has seen a wave of climate demonstrations, like this one in Lausanne in April.

(Keystone / Valentin Flauraud)

A climate demonstration in the Swiss capital of Bern, tipped to be the biggest of its kind in Switzerland, has been rescheduled to avoid a clash with the country’s general elections in October.

The Climate Allianceexternal link rally will no longer run on October 5 because the number of anticipated participants has mushroomed from a few thousand to a forecast 30,000 to 40,000, officials confirmed on Sunday. Swiss voters go to the polls on October 20.

Demonstrations in the Swiss capital during election year have been restricted since disturbances broke out in 2007.

The Swiss News Agency Keystone-SDA obtained confirmation from Bern city authorities concerning a Blick am Sonntag newspaper report that said the demonstration could no longer take place in the same month as the elections.

But a Bern city spokesman denied that the change had been orchestrated by a protest from the rightwing People’s Party that the climate rally could be subverted to make political statements. The official reason for the rescheduling is that the predicted numbers had grown too big.

Switzerland has witnessed a number of climate rallies in various cities over the last few months. The new date for the Bern demonstration has not been released, but it could be switched to September 28, according to Keystone-SDA.

swissinfo.ch/mga

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