In Geneva, the demonstration against the SVP turns into a confrontation with the police

On one side, a line of armored riot police blocking a street, impassive behind their bulky helmets. On the other, a swarm of demonstrators all dressed in black, brandishing smoke bombs at arm’s length, who launch the assault. The latter throw stones, firecrackers, bottles at the agents, who respond with batons, rubber bullets and tear gas, forcing the activists to withdraw. Result: a deserted street where smoke sticks smoke, and dozens of demonstrators and journalists rubbing puffy eyes on purple faces.

This is the scene that took place Saturday afternoon in Geneva, during an anti-UDC demonstration, while the party held its assembly of delegates in Meyrin, on the outskirts of the city. However, at 3 p.m., the demonstration had started in a friendly atmosphere. The core of anti-fascist activists were joined by former anti-nuclear activists, but also families and young people with their faces uncovered, in order to express their rejection of the country’s leading party. About 300 people gathered at the Parc des Cropettes, near Cornavin station.

Read also: Albert Rösti in front of the UDC in Geneva: “Fossil energies are not infinite”

The UDC “not welcome in Geneva”

“I am here to oppose the ideas of the SVP, which pits people against each other and politically recovers the misery of the population,” says Paulo Gilardi, a 66-year-old protester, all smiles under his white mustache. For the retiree, “the UDC is not a fascist party, but it leads a management policy that is harmful to the majority of the country”. Around him, the demonstrators acquiesce. Not far away, a group of four young people in hoods, sunglasses and sanitary masks on their noses, explains: “The UDC is a neoliberal, xenophobic and security party. We don’t want this party and its ideas to feel at home on our streets!”

Around 3:30 p.m., the demonstrators gathered behind a banner “against sexism, racism and employers”. A loudspeaker speech blasted “a tough, extreme, sexist, racist right wing that is gaining ground by attacking everything we stand for. But it will never win, neither in Geneva nor anywhere else!”. The demonstrators then set off, heading for the city center, as a policeman armed with a megaphone urged them to stop this unauthorized demonstration. Before the start of the demonstration, agents had already carried out identity checks of demonstrators going to the Parc des Cropettes.

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