Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Trouble in Switzerland

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Our government is quite a neat thing. Seven ministers, each one responsible for his department and a sort of assistant that looks after everyone. They are from different parties and all work together. Sort of a magic formular, 2 Socialists, 2 conservative, one christian party and 2 people's party basically speaking - just a rough translation. The gentleman second from the left is the one of the ministers in the peoples party. He had a good idea so he thought. He got all his patriotic party memebers together and said lets go marching through our capital city, so they did and this was the result.

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Much to the disappointment of the lady 4th from the left in the white blouse who is a member of the socialist party and at the moment our President. We choose a new president every year from the selection as shown above. This year it was her turn. She is a grandmother and sometimes has some funny ideas.

I was just watching a political programme on tv about what happened and it wasn't very pretty. The people's party who are quite right wing went on their march through Bern singing their Swiss patriotic songs, waving their flags and some dressed up in patiotic colours of red and white. They even had a small goat leading the way. Their politician also marched with them.

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At the same time a branch of another party decided to do a contra meeting. They called themselves the Black sheep as this word was used by the people's party to describe the people in Switzerland who according to their ideas, should not be there. They even had a bandstand with a pop music group.

The police got ready, armed with their shields, but unfortunately not with very much common sense. They probably thought it would be a good idea to see what was going on. It all started quite peacefully until a third group, with hoods and masked of course, decided to bring some life into the party. From what I heard from the interviews with them on the tv they were probably not exactly the best at being clever. However, what they could do was collect bricks and throw them at the people's party or at anyone that got in the way. The people's party then altered the route of their march and eventually ended up on the square in front of our parliament building, where a fight broke out. Unfortunately the police didn't know the route had been changed so they were waiting somewhere else. Now the action really got going and eventually the police did arrive and arrested about 50 people and the injured were cared for, luckily no fatal injuries and this in a country with seven million inhabitants.

Our president was naturally shocked. She was interviewed this evening on the tv and said that the whole thing gives a false picture of Switzerland in the world. I believe the New York Times brought full coverage on the front page. I am not very political and just watch from a distance, but it did disturb me a bit. Our farmers sometimes get worked up usuall about the prices they are paid for their produce, so they spread manure and straw in front of the parliament building once and then they all went home, but they didn't have a go at anyone with pitchforks.

So that was my report from a quiet week-end in Bern.

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