Police expect more anti-lockdown demonstrations

Hundreds of demonstrators are set to gather in Swiss cities for the third weekend in a row. SRF-SWI

Swiss police say they are prepared for more demonstrations at the weekend that breach current rules on social distancing during the coronavirus lockdown. Hundreds of protestors gathered in cities such as Bern and Zurich over the last two weekends.

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A spokesperson for Bern police told Swiss public broadcaster SRF that more demonstrations are expected in coming days. As a result, more police officers will be present on the streets of the Swiss capital.

Two weeks’ ago, police broke up demonstrations because they defied lockdown restrictions on more than five people gathering in public places. That rule is expected to stay in place until at least early June.

The police action was heavily criticised by Amnesty International that called on the authorities to respect the right to peaceful protest.

Last weekend, police took no direct action, citing the presence of children and elderly people among protestors as a reason not to use force. Instead, officers issued verbal warnings and followed this up by writing up reports on dozens of people that could result in prosecutions at a later date.

Protestors have been mainly demonstrating against the social and economic restrictions imposed by the government under the powers of the Epidemics Act. But some have also attended with messages relating to the environment, 5G antennae and other subjects.

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