Around 1,500 anti-abortionists took part in a “March for Life” rally outside the Federal Palace in the Swiss capital on Saturday, amid a heavy police presence. A counter demonstration in the city attracted 800 people.
The “March for Life” demonstration, which aimed to raise public awareness about the consequences of abortion, was organised by conservative Christian groups, including the Swiss Evangelical Network and the Federal Democratic Union of Switzerland (EDU/UDF).
The organisers claim that many women who get abortions often find themselves in difficult psychological and physical situations later in life. A petition was launched which asks for women to be informed about the consequences of having an abortion.
Police in Bern carried out checks to only allow rally participants to enter the square outside the Federal Parliament building.
At the same time, 800 people marched through the city centre to protest the "March for Life" rally. They say the organisers give an old-fashioned and degrading image of women and their right to self-determination is refused “in the name of God”.
The opponents, mostly young people carried slogans such as “Bern does not agree” and “My body, my choice”.
During the last "March for Life" two years ago, several hundred police were deployed to keep the two sides apart and to prevent any opponents from reaching Federal Square.