On 20 March 2021, around 8,000 people assembled in Liestal in Switzerland to protest against government measures to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The protest, which was authorised by the authorities, drew people from across Switzerland.
According to a report by RTS, around 8,000 people were present, a number lower than the 8,500 to 10,000 claimed by organisers and protestors. The local police put the number at between 6,000 and 7,000.
Leistal is the capital of the Swiss canton of Basel Landschaft and has a population of around 14,000.
Many of the protestors wore masks and white hazmat suits and shouted slogans such as “enough!”, “vaccines kill!” and “follow love not fear!”.
Protest organiser, the Stiller (Silent) Protest association, describes itself as politically and religiously neutral and focused on peaceful protest with no links to right- or left-wing extremism. Started in November 2020, the protest in Liestal was the group’s fifth protest and follows earlier marches in Zurich (50 people), St. Gallen (150 people), Aarau (250 people) and Chur (5,000) – numbers are unverified figures from the group’s website and Facebook page.
The protest in Liestal came a day after the Federal Council disappointed many with its decision not to follow through on plans to reopen restaurants and theatres based on a worsening epidemiological outlook and slow vaccination progress.
Protestors want an end to Covid-19 restrictions they describe as dictatorial. The group claims the country has been taken hostage for more than a year and the population should be allowed to return living without restrictions.
According to police, one person was mildly injured and taken to hospital to be checked during the Liestal protest. In addition, 12 others were taken into custody by the police for trying to disrupt the protest.
Another separate protest in Bern, which was not authorised, was halted by the police. A small number of protestors were surrounded before have their personal details recorded, reported RTS.