Last Saturday in Liestal in the canton of Basel-Landschaft, they were between 5,000 and 8,000 to oppose the restrictive measures against the pandemic, most without a mask. They had already announced 10,000 participants for the next meeting, on April 10 in Altdorf. It was counting without the refusal of the Uranian authorities, justified Thursday by the “risk of slippage” and the epidemiological situation. The organizers, an alliance of several groups, do not intend to stop there and announce in the NZZ the filing of an appeal.
The backfire continued in the form of an online protest the same day: under hashtags #noliestal and #noaltdorf, messages of solidarity towards health measures have spread like wildfire on Twitter, in response to the discontented whose ranks are growing.
At the origin of this action, the actor Nils Althaus, 39 years old. “I demonstrate, but without infecting others. For quick and efficient action. For the masks. Against other waves. Against Liestal’s imprudence, ”writes the Bernese, a trained biologist. In the space of a few hours, his message elicited more than 23,000 responses on the social network. Several elected officials joined the call, posting masked selfies: Green Balthasar Glättli, Socialist Min Li Marti, Basel UDC MP Joël Thüring or even Bernese State Councilor PBD Béatrice Simon. Scientists reacted, such as Samia Hurst, bioethicist and vice-president of the Confederation’s covid task force, who was moved by this demonstration of “solidarity in the face of Covid-19”.
A “silent majority”
Even if he did not expect to generate such enthusiasm, Nils Althaus suspected that he was not the only one to be sorry. “I already felt like I was part of a silent majority in favor of restrictions, in the name of solidarity. We are as discreet as the opponents of the measures are loud, precisely because we respect the restrictions: we stay at home, we do not see many people, ”he explains. In front of the images of the demonstration of Liestal, the biggest to date in Switzerland, the actor felt the need to express another speech.
He sees himself as a “catalyst that allows others, the reasonable, those who respect and understand the measures, to make their voices heard.” Among those who support this action, there are people of all the political spectrum and of all ages. ” In February, a petition for the lifting of restrictions launched by two young PLRs from Zurich and supported by the UDC, collected thousands of signatures in a few days. In view of the difficulties in coming together, ephemeral online actions are multiplying. With what impact? “Politicians are humans, they react to what people think. They cannot ignore the message, ”says Nils Althaus.
However, the actor does not call for a categorical ban on street demonstrations. “As long as we respect the security measures – distance and masks – it must be possible to exercise the right to assemble. But what happened in Liestal was not a demonstration, it was a super-propagative event, with potentially serious consequences for the population. “