Hundreds gather in protest in Swiss cities against anti-coronavirus restrictions

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Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Bern and other Swiss cities Saturday to protest restrictions put in place to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, local media reported.

Several hundred people gathered in front of the Swiss parliament in the capital, the Keystone-ATS news agency reported, publishing pictures showing people crammed together surrounded by police.

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The protesters voiced anger at measures imposed by Switzerland in mid-March, including closing schools, restaurants and all businesses besides food shops and pharmacies.

Switzerland, which has reported more than 1,500 deaths from COVID-19 and over 30,000 infections, has begun gradually easing its restrictions, allowing barbers, hairdressers and florists to reopen two weeks ago, and with schools, restaurants, museums and libraries due to reopen, under specific conditions, on Monday.

Gatherings of more than five people meanwhile remain banned.

Saturday's protesters said the restrictions imposed violate fundamental rights, and they booed and whistled at the large contingent of police on site, ATS said.

Several protesters brandished posters, including one stating that “With no lockdown measures, Sweden is doing just as well as Switzerland.”

Another 100 to 200 people gathered for a separate protest in Zurich while around 80 gathered in St-Gall, ATS reported.