The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Demonstrators in Bern are calling for solidarity with Palestine.

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 28 October 2023

On Saturday afternoon, another Palestine demonstration began outside the Federal Palace in Bern. The Palestine Group Bern called for the approved rally.

Demonstrators in Bern are calling for solidarity with Palestine.
Demonstrators line up with letters for the slogan “Free Palestine” during the demonstration “Jerusalem belongs to everyone!” on the Bundesplatz. (Photo: Keystone)

We are calling for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the genocide. The siege must end.

At the start of the rally, several hundred people were present at the Federal Square, according to a reporter from the news agency Keystone-SDA. Palestinian flags were waved. Numerous police officers observed the event.

On Saturday, demonstrations against the Middle East conflict were announced in other Swiss cities, including Zurich, Basel, Geneva and Bellinzona. Last weekend, Bern, Zurich and Basel did not allow any Middle East demonstrations. They justified this with the concern of personal and material damage.

Thousands Participate in Palestine Demonstration in Zurich

An estimated several thousand people participated in the demonstration “for a free Palestine” in Zurich on Saturday. The police were present in large numbers.

Demonstrators in Bern are calling for solidarity with Palestine.
Many Palestine flags on Helvetiaplatz: The demonstrators at the start of the rally.
(Photo: Keystone
)

The demonstration proceeded peacefully. No major incidents were observed. The demonstration marched from Helvetiaplatz to Bahnhofstrasse and back. The most frequent chant of the demonstrators was “Free Palestine”. Israel was also referred to in chants as a terrorist.

At the Bahnhofstrasse, there were isolated incidents. For example, a passerby insulted the participants as terrorists, as observed by a reporter from Keystone-SDA.

At the demonstration, individual posters were seen comparing Hitler to current events or labeling the West as a supporter of terrorism. However, the most common sight was Palestinian flags of all sizes.

The organizers estimated that around 7000 people participated in the event. The Zurich City Police have yet to provide an assessment.

An unauthorized Palestine demonstration marched through Basel.

Around 300 people participated in an unauthorized Palestine demonstration in Basel on Saturday afternoon. The demonstration started at Claraplatz. Shortly before, the Basel Autumn Fair began.

At the front of the march, the participants carried a banner with the controversial slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, as observed by a reporter from the news agency Keystone-SDA on the scene.

This slogan has often been criticized for implying the destruction of Israel. However, a sign next to it read “Fight Anti-Semitism and Racism,” and posters nearby made comparisons to genocide and apartheid.

The demonstration started at Claraplatz and proceeded over the Mittlere Brücke to Barfüsserplatz, causing tram traffic to be blocked in the city center. The gathering remained peaceful for the most part, except for a brief verbal altercation when two men appeared with an Israeli flag. Police were present at the edges of the demonstration.

Last week, an unauthorized Palestine demonstration took place in Basel. The Basel Public Prosecutor’s Office is currently investigating whether individual slogans displayed or chanted are punishable. The Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed a corresponding report by BZ Basel to the news agency Keystone-SDA.

The spokesperson of the prosecutor’s office said that it is not a simple legal assessment to determine whether public calls for violence against people were made or whether the racism penalty was violated, which would then be considered an official offense. This requires appropriate time for the assessment.

©Keystone/SDA

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