Swiss protestors denounce Trump visit to Davos

| 24th January 2018
Anti-Trump protesters

Fossil-free.ch protestors line-up against US President Trump.

A demonstration in Zurich, organised in less than a week, has attracted thousands of people from all walks of life, outraged by Donald Trump’s policies and telling the US President to stay away, NICK BREEZE reports

We don’t agree with his racism, we don’t agree with his climate denying, we don’t agree with his America First policy, and we want to say loud and clearly that he is not welcome in Switzerland.

Critics of the World Economic Forum say that meeting of the global elite - that includes business leaders and heads of state - paves the way for corruption and behind the scenes deal making that are not in the interests of everyday people.

President Trump had previously scorned the event in Davos himself, but surprised the media by announcing that he would attend. It has been reported in the US that his attendance is little more than an opportunity to be with global business leaders who are pleased with his recent tax break for the richest 1 percent worth trillions of dollars.

Trump’s tax bill is predicted to boost stock markets in the short-term but then drive the US economy into deeper debt as they seek even more borrowing from China.

Gender equality

The demonstration in central Zurich has been organised by about 20 diverse organisations including the Green Party, Fossil-Free Switzerland, Women’s March Zurich and civil liberty groups.

I spoke to Edwin Moser, a representative from Fossil-Free Switzerland, who said: “About a week ago we heard that Trump is coming to Davos.

"This demonstration is to show that he is not welcome in Switzerland. We don’t agree with his racism, we don’t agree with his climate denying, we don’t agree with his America First policy, and we want to say loud and clearly that he is not welcome in Switzerland.”

Many of the placards on the protests at the event bare slogans that subvert Trump's own comments referring to his “shit hole” comments in reference to developing nations that had traditionally received support from the US.

Protestors for gender equality marched with genital masks on their heads reflecting the objectification of women routinely displayed the President.

A future

Swiss people are usually very reticent when it comes to public protests and yet the turn out here is in the thousands. Police have lined the roads and set up road blocks to guide the protest through the centre of the city, even down the famous Banhoffstrasse where many of the world’s richest people are often seen shopping or going about their business.

A protester stated: “We want to show people that people in Switzerland are caring for the world and we care especially about climate change.”

The US President’s visit is sure to be unpopular with many other foreign world leaders as well as Swiss people themselves, but some protesters suggest this seems unlikely to upset him personally.  

Moser added: “I am sure that Trump likes it that so many people protest against him. He seems to like it but we don’t care about that. We care about the future after Trump and he is going to be gone very soon. I am sure about that!”

After people gathered at Helvetiaplatz on the edge of the city, the lively march proceeded towards the centre, even passing a number of strip clubs where workers came to the door to wave at the protesters in an odd show of unity.

Many talked of taking the protest to the World Economic Forum in Davos but due to the small size of the town and the heavy snowfall, that could be difficult.

Despite this, many here really believe that the extreme nature of Trump’s policies and rhetoric will, in the end, galvanise social movements for change with more and more people taking notice and demanding that their political leaders denounce inequality and policies that are destroying the global commons for future generations.

This Author

Nick Breeze is a climate change interviewer regularly posting at http://enivsionation.co.uk. He is also a cofounder of http://climateseries.com. He tweets at @NickGBreeze. 

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