Switzerland is one of the oldest democracies. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are some basic human rights. Anybody can say what they think and believe without having to fear negative consequences.
Especially in Berne, being the capital city, there are frequent events where people stand up
- and solicit signature for a new referendum against the Swiss Intelligence Service collecting more information
- for the persecuted Christians in Iran
- or voice their support for a vegan life style
- etc etc
For these official events the police has to grant a permit. To obtain a permit actually isn’t too difficult.
Normally these events are not really getting very much attention. For one they are quite frequent and people on the whole are not very easily moved.
However I was amazed at the very violent and loud opposition to a rather peaceful manifestation of maybe a thousand Christians from diverse backgrounds. These folks gathered in front of the parliament building (on the Bundesplatz) to show their support for the unborn child. The organisers called it a „pro-life manifestation“.
In the event diverse speakers stood up and celebrated life. They argued that neither abortion nor euthanasia was ethical.
A small group of maybe 200 activists violently and noisily opposed the event. They argued that a woman should have freedom over her own body and thus be able to choose an abortion.
A great number of police units from the wider area were called in to reinforce the local units. The protection of the pro-life flock must have costs enormous amounts of tax money. Yet at the same time it showed the freedom of speech is still highly valued, even though at times it gets under more and more pressure.