More than 60,000 protestors gathered in the Swiss city Bern on Saturday, less than a month before a national election, to demand stricter policies to tackle climate change, organizers said.
Such huge protests are unusual in Switzerland, and they reflect growing public dissatisfaction with the slow pace of policy development to tackle global warming, despite substantial evidence of its impact.
Switzerland’s glaciers have shrunk by 10% in two years, while September was the hottest on record in a country warming at more than twice the global rate.
“Many have been losing hope because the government is approving new roads and delaying the climate law. But today we were powerful,” said Georg Klingler from environmental campaigners Greenpeace who took part in the march.
The Green Party, which boosted its presence at the last parliamentary election but does not have a seat in the ruling cabinet, estimated that more than 60,000 people took part. A Bern police spokesperson declined to give an estimate.
“Parliament, with its bourgeois majority, is preventing rapid, consistent and effective climate protection,” the Green Party said. “We need a change at the next elections,” it said, referring to the Oct. 22 legislative poll.
Switzerland’s policies are deemed “insufficient” by research consortium Climate Action Tracker.
Its voters approved a draft climate law in June that aims to cut emissions to net zero by 2050 by giving financial incentives for firms and consumers to switch to renewables. But the government has said the law will not take effect until 2025.