Marking the Global Day of Action for Gaza, protesters in Switzerland called for a permanent ceasefire in the region, accusing the country of being “complicit in genocide” despite its declared neutrality.
More than 15,000 pro-Palestinian protesters in Switzerland took to the streets of Basel on Saturday to hold their first national protest in support of Gazans since several German-speaking cantons banned such actions, calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in village. region.
The demonstration, organized to mark the Global Day of Action for Gaza by the newly formed Swiss-Palestine Federation (FSP), called on people across Switzerland to join together to protest against the “complicity of their country’s government in the deaths of at least 22,300 Palestinians.” we read in a statement shared with Euronews.
The protest ban in several German-speaking cantons was introduced after the national demonstration of solidarity with the Palestinians on November 4, 2023, the first since the Hamas attack on October 7 and Israel’s war against the militant group.
The FSP, which represents an alliance of collectives and organizations from across the country, said the ban was “an unconstitutional violation of the fundamental right to protest”.
The group criticizes Switzerland’s declared neutrality, saying that the country’s neutral and humanitarian commitment under UN resolutions has been “flagrantly violated” due to the clear pro-Israel stance it has taken since 7 October.
“This makes Switzerland complicit in the ongoing situation genocide“, the group said. “Swiss complicity ranges from banning the right to demonstrate in some Swiss cantons, to censoring academic work in Swiss universities, to canceling financial support of Palestinian NGOs, to attempting to erase the work of UNWRA which is crucial during this humanitarian catastrophe, to direct aid to Israel’s genocide through military cooperation and continued economic relations with the apartheid state.”
“Neutrality is a policy that only serves the Israeli apartheid regime and its settler colonialism,” Catarina Viegas, one of the activists present at Saturday’s demonstration, told Euronews. “As genocide unfolds before our eyes, we refuse to remain silent in the face of the violence of power and until all are free.”
The FSP is now calling on Switzerland to introduce military and economic sanctions against Israel through the UN Security Council, to stop investments in companies involved in Israeli settler and security policy and to decriminalize the Palestinian solidarity movement.