GENEVA (Reuters) - Some 5,000 people in the Swiss multicultural city of Geneva marched in protest at racial discrimination on Tuesday as the funeral of George Floyd was taking place in the United States.
The May 25 death of the unarmed, handcuffed African-American in Minneapolis, after a police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes, has sparked anti-racism protests in other parts of Switzerland, including Lausanne, Basel and the capital Bern - as well as around the world over the past two weeks.
The crowd formed in drizzling rain and crossed the main Mont Blanc bridge to the other side of the city along Lake Geneva, with one group stopping on the span to take a knee.
“Silence is no longer an option,” read one banner. “Racism is also a pandemic,” said another, alluding to the coronavirus outbreak.
“These are claims we have made for years and years, even centuries, like past generations. It is to show that this is not only an American issue, but the problem is also very present in Switzerland. And this problem of systemic racism must also be considered and discussed in our country,” Ruth Noemie, from the organising group Collectif Afrosuisse, told Reuters Television.
A teenage black girl who gave her name as Pauline said: “Yes, I suffer from racism every day and I think there is a problem in Switzerland regarding this. Switzerland must also change. We have a racism more implicit than some countries, but it also exists and it is also strong.”
Johnson Mibarak, who attended the protest with his five-year-old son, said: “It is true that unfortunately, we are in 2020 and still talking about these societal issues. We live in a country called ‘developed’, so we shouldn’t have to deal with these kinds of issues.”
Reporting by Cecile Mantovani; Writing by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Mark Heinrich