Western Europe

Thousands protest against anti-COVID measures in Switzerland

15:02, 17 October 2021
Thousands protest against anti-COVID measures in Switzerland Photo: Alexey M./Wikimedia Commons

Several Swiss cities have seen manifestations opposing the extension of coronavirus restrictions.

Thousands of Swiss citizens have gathered in the streets in another weekend of protests against anti-COVID restrictions imposed by the Federal Council of the country. The protesters criticized the health pass requirement extension.

The largest rally was held in Rapperswil-Jona, western Switzerland, where some 3,000 people took part in the action, according to police data.

Other massive demonstrations have been held in Lausanne, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, as well as in the Italian-speaking Lugano, and Baden in the German-speaking region.

The protesters chanted “Freedom” and “Berset, we don’t want your pass”, referring to Alain Berset, the health minister of Switzerland.

Public indignation has been provoked by the government’s measures taken to fight the highly transmissible Delta type. The COVID certificate, which can be obtained either after undergoing full vaccination or by showing a recent negative test, is demanded to enter restaurants and bars, museums, cinemas, and sports events.

On Wednesday Alain Berset declared “offensive actions” to urge the citizens to get jabbed. He added that the restrictions will not be lifted until another million residents get vaccinated.

“Vaccines are our door to quit the crisis,” the official said.

Vaccination rates in Switzerland are rather small compared with its neighbor, the EU. Only 61.5% of the Swiss population have been fully vaccinated.