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8,000 people in Liestal against anti-Covid measures, start of reconfinement in Paris: the news of March 20

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On Friday, the Federal Council announced that it was giving up the openings scheduled for Monday, in particular terraces and cultural and sports halls. We will have to wait four more weeks.

Find our follow-up of the day on Friday


■ Speeches and anti-Covid demonstrations in Liestal

Some 8,000 people – most without protective masks – took part in an authorized protest against anti-Covid-19 measures in Liestal (BL) on Saturday. In the city of Bern, the police prevented an attempted demonstration by deploying massively.

In Liestal, the police did not intervene to arrest people who were not wearing protective masks. She preferred to ensure that the demonstration takes place in peace, according to a spokesperson for the police interviewed by a correspondent of the Keystone-ATS press agency present on the spot.

Protesters carried placards with slogans like “Vaccinate kills” or “No mass testing”. This march was initiated by the association “Silent Protest” which had already organized in recent weeks demonstrations in Chur and Wohlen (AG) in particular.

Federal square cordoned off

In Bern, the police nipped in the bud an attempted demonstration which also aimed to protest against the sanitary measures. The police ensured that no gathering could form in the city of Bern or along the Aare by deploying massively.

A citizen movement had called for demonstrations during the afternoon. “All together for our freedom”: this slogan was printed on a leaflet, distributed on social networks in French and German, but also in letterboxes in the city of Bern.

At noon, shortly after the market closed, the police cordoned off Federal Square. Ditto for Helvetiaplatz, shortly after. Reason given by the police: the current ban on gatherings of more than 15 people in public spaces. It was estimated that around 50 people were in the square. They were checked one by one.

The Kirchenfeld Bridge, which connects the district of the same name, where Helvetiaplatz is located in the city center, has been cordoned off. The Dalmazi Bridge, which crosses the Aare below the district, also.

Clashes in Germany

Clashes erupted Saturday between police and opponents of restrictive measures taken against Covid-19 in Cassel, a city in central Germany, during one of the largest such gatherings since the start of the year in this country.

Several thousand protesters gathered in a square in the center of Cassel, the main rallying point, tight against each other and not wearing a protective mask, noted an AFP journalist.

■ Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan positive for coronavirus

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tested positive for Covid-19, two days after receiving a vaccine against the disease, his services announced on Saturday.

“At this stage, the Prime Minister’s office can only confirm that the Honorable Prime Minister has tested positive for Covid-19 and has placed himself in isolation. We will provide more details in due course, ”his services said.

Imran Khan, 68, was injected with China’s Sinopharm vaccine on Thursday as Pakistan faces a third epidemic wave.

■ One in three French people confined

A third of the French wake up on Saturday under a new kind of confinement, with walks authorized for several hours, but within a restricted radius of 10 km, and part of the shops closed.

Since that night, at midnight, sixteen departments have been subject for at least four weeks to these restrictions, much lighter than the first national confinement of just a year ago: the eight of Ile-de-France, the five Hauts-de-France, Seine-Maritime, Eure and Alpes-Maritimes. That is to say 21 million inhabitants, including the 12 million of the Paris region, the economic heart of the country. Interregional travel is prohibited, except for “compelling reasons”.

As in Switzerland, the list of “essential” businesses arouses discussion, if not astonishment. Florists, chocolate makers, car dealerships and shops for the repair and maintenance of musical instruments will be able to remain open in the 16 departments subject to reconfinement from Saturday, according to a decree published on Saturday in the Official Journal, specifying an announcement from the Ministry of ‘economy.

■ The press understands the Federal Council’s decision

The Federal Council decided on Friday to postpone the main easing measures. Although frustrating, this decision was consistent in view of the epidemiological situation, estimates the Swiss press on Saturday morning.

Freedom notes that the Federal Council wants to avoid losing control of the situation while the vaccination campaign, which is starting to bear fruit, could be undermined by the virus. And to conclude that “the turnaround announced yesterday is consistent. Just like the sugar granted to the population in the private circle to keep their membership. “

The Daily indicator goes in the same direction. For the German-speaking newspaper, as painful as it is, the Federal Council’s restraint is correct. He adds that it is important to proceed with caution until the vaccination campaign offers better protection.

In view of the number of cases, the Federal Council’s approach seems understandable, also writes the NZZ. And to conclude that there is no other solution for the moment than to put up with the annoying stop and go management. What is missing, the newspaper believes, is a prospect that goes beyond the anxious hope of vaccine deliveries and the miraculous drop in the number of cases during the summer.

In Time, our journalist underlines for his part that “the population rejoiced too soon and the Federal Council spoke too quickly”. He recalls that, last week, the Federal Council had launched “a simple consultation” and that “nobody wanted to hear the caveats emitted by Alain Berset on a possible deterioration of the pandemic situation”.

Read our editorial: The Federal Council spoke too quickly


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