Anti-arms trade initiative launched

Swiss National Banksy: 86-year-old Louise Schneider getting her message across Keystone

The pacifist group Switzerland without an Army can start collecting signatures to ban the financing of companies that produce war materiel, the Federal Chancellery said on Tuesday. The group has 18 months – until October 11, 2018 – to collect 100,000 valid signatures.

swissinfo.ch and agencies, swissinfo.ch and agencies/ts

The launching of the campaign kicked off with one of the group’s members, 86-year-old Louise Schneider, being picked up by police for spraying “Geld für Waffen tötet” (money for weapons kills) on the Swiss National Bank (SNB). The bank is currently undergoing renovations, so the graffiti was sprayed on a wooden protective wall.

Keystone

The text of the campaign wants to bans the SNB, foundations and pension schemes from investing in the arms industry.

It would be illegal to grant credit or make a loan or donation to a company where more than 5% of turnover comes from the production of war materiel. The same applies to the acquisition of shares and securities issued by the armaments industry.

In 2009, a similar proposal by Switzerland without an Army to ban arms exports was rejected by just over two-thirds of voters.

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