Hundreds of people with torches and Swiss flags filed through a town in Switzerland’s Zurich region, decrying the possible introduction of Covid health passes.
Among the slogans heard during the march on Tuesday night was ‘peace, freedom, the people are sovereign.’ Idiosyncratic bell-ringers and drummers were also present at the rally – a common feature at events like this in Switzerland in recent months.
Protests took place just days prior to the Sunday referendum in which the Swiss would decide whether the Alpine country should introduce Covid passes. Tuesday’s rally passed without incident, with protesters sticking to designated pedestrian areas.
Last Saturday saw similar protests with thousands of people in Zurich, Lausanne and other cities. Other demonstrations like this have also been staged over recent months and ended in violence with the police.
Bern has erected fences to stop protesters from entering the government or parliament buildings. Swiss authorities have also had to provide additional security to a number of officials, including the country’s health minister, who has reportedly been targeted with insults and even death threats.
According to a recent poll, 61% of the country’s population is in favor of amendments that would enable authorities to introduce sanitary passes.
Switzerland is witness to a spike in Covid cases despite the fact that 65% of its population has been fully vaccinated.
However, the country’s government has so far stopped short of imposing new nationwide restrictions, arguing that the situation differs from region to region. The decision to either put in or remove new restrictions will be made by the authorities. The Swiss government issued a statement on Wednesday warning that they are closely watching developments as these could get worse in the coming weeks.
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