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Thousands take part in Zurich bicycle demonstration

Several motorists complained that bicycle protesters had sought to provoke them. Keystone

Several thousand cyclists took police by surprise by attending a mass demonstration in Zurich to highlight the dangers posed by motorised traffic.

This content was published on May 29, 2021 - 13:34
swissinfo.ch/mga

Two people were slightly injured during the demonstration on Friday evening. Zurich police said they had received several complaints of verbal altercations between demonstrators and motorists but did not indicate that anyone had been arrested.

Witnesses reported up to 10,000 cyclists taking to the streets, some deliberately blocking roads and causing traffic jams in several areas of the city.

The demonstration was organised by the Critical MassExternal link movement, which began in San Francisco in 1992 and now takes place in several cities around the world. Its purpose is to bring attention to the hazards that motorists present to cyclists on roads.

Police say the demonstration started at around 6.30pm and continued well into the night. Many demonstrators defied coronavirus social distancing rules and failed to wear face masks.

But police appear to have restricted their action to calming flash points where motorists complained of being provoked by demonstrators “in a variety of ways”.

Further demos

The Zurich demonstration was followed on Saturday by up to 2,000 people gathering in the French-speaking city of Lausanne to protest against the proposed tightening of anti-terror laws. Voters will decide on an initiative on June 13 that calls for the controversial law change to be scrapped.

Also on Saturday, around 20 demonstrators defied a ban on protesting in the northwestern town of Solothurn against the pandemic lockdown restrictions. The authorities had refused to allow the “Silent Protest” following a large demonstration in Neuchatel last weekend.

Solothurn police isolated the handful of protesters and say they prevented another 120 people from joining the demonstration. No arrests were made.

Around 1,000 people in Geneva protested against both anti-terror laws and pandemic lockdown measures. Voters will also challenge the government’s powers in curbing the pandemic on June 13.

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