Several Swiss cities saw record number of protests in 2022

Several Swiss cities saw record number of protests in 2022

2022 saw a record number of protests in several cities in Switzerland, Swiss media outlets have reported. Some of the largest marches involved upwards of 20.000 people, protesting issues ranging from the cost of living to the war in Ukraine.

286 protests in Basel put pressure on Swiss police

According to 20 Minuten, 286 protests, marches and demonstrations were approved in Basel in 2022. Rooven Brucker, media spokesperson for the local police, confirmed that they have never seen so many demonstrations in the city in one year.

The reasons for the protests were diverse and varied, ranging from pre-planned events like the Labour Day march and women’s strike to impromptu marches demanding increased salaries for workers, opposing the election of new Federal Councillors and calling for the end of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The rise in demonstrations has also placed significant pressure on the emergency services, with 20 Minuten noting that the police force in Basel is particularly affected as they are short 100 officers. Until these jobs are filled, according to spokesperson Brucker, their staff should expect more overtime and less predictable working hours.

One protest or demonstration every day in Bern in 2022

Elsewhere, in the de facto capital of Switzerland, Bern saw 363 registered rallies by the end of November, already beating the previous record set in 2019. The number means that more than one demonstration took place every day in the capital of Canton Bern.

The largest rally recorded this year was part of the country-wide protests against the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the end of February. According to Blick, around 20.000 people attended the rally in Bern, where onlookers got to hear a speech from the president of Switzerland, Ignazio Cassis. Demonstrations in support of the ongoing protests in Iran were also particularly numerous in 2022.

Number of protests in Zurich decline

While Basel and Bern saw a rise in protests, the same cannot be said for other parts of the country: authorities in Zurich only approved 318 rallies in 2022, slightly fewer than last year. Officials in Geneva were unable to say whether the number of protests increased, while in Canton Vaud, police reported that the number of demonstrations has remained about the same as last year.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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