Line of demarcation, reinforced police force and assembly prohibited. The security measures that will be put in place on Sunday on the sidelines of the Moutier vote are exceptional, certainly unique in Swiss history. They are at the height of “this historic day, charged with emotion”, according to the terms of the City Council (executive) which made important decisions regarding the organization of this ballot where Prévôtoises and Prévôtois will choose between the Jura and Bern . The city will thus be divided into two zones.
“It is expected that each camp respects this division and does not go beyond the demarcation point located at the roundabout of Switzerland and the rue de l’Hotel-de-Ville”, announced the authorities of Moutier in a press release. hurry. The “Moutier Ville jurassienne” committee will await the results at the Hôtel de la Gare, an emblematic place of the fight for autonomy. The committee of “MoutierPlus”, the organization which led the campaign to keep the canton of Bern, will settle at the Forum de l’Arc, the town’s exhibition hall.
Results expected for 5 p.m.
In addition, the rue de l’Hotel-de-Ville will be fully cordoned off on Sunday from 3 p.m. Only the media will be allowed to visit the building, where the City Council’s position will be given half an hour after the announcement of the results, expected around 5 p.m. The winning side, and only him, will then have the right to go to the city center, avoiding any higher meeting of 15 people. The authorities recall that “the usual sanitary measures must be respected” and invite the population to favor celebrations in a private setting.
“The security system is similar to that put in place during the previous vote on June 18, 2017,” explains Valentin Zuber, city councilor and president of the Provost Office for Jurassic Affairs (DAJ). The objective is to coordinate as best as possible with the police to avoid any clash between militants from both camps. Everything could very quickly degenerate. People are also on edge in this period of covid and we can feel a certain fed up. ”
The organization has also been made more complex with the pandemic and, unlike 2017, protests had to be banned. “There will be no gathered crowd, regrets Valentin Zuber. But there will be ways to meet in small groups in the parks, and bistros will be allowed to sell take-out drinks. ” Note that the entire process, from the count to the official announcement of the results, will be broadcast live as soon as the polling station closes at noon on the Facebook page as well as on the municipality’s YouTube channel.
The spokesperson for “Moutier Ville jurassienne”, Mylène Jolidon, understands these decisions. She remains confident that the day will go off without a hitch as in 2017. “But it is a good thing to prevent possible provocations that could aggravate the situation”, underlines the autonomist, who remembers pro-activists. Bernese who came to taunt them in 2013 on the Place de la Gare. For her, the drastic side of the measures is largely explained by the epidemiological situation of Covid-19. “We will not be able to prevent people from wanting to celebrate, but it is important to remember the rules and to limit gatherings”, underlines Mylène Jolidon.
For his part, Steve Léchot, spokesperson for “MoutierPlus” recognizes that, “seen from the outside, such a deployment may seem exotic, even shocking, but it materializes the divisions that have split the city in two for years”. The anti-separatist welcomes the fact that, in view of the tensions, each camp is demonstrating on its side. His fear concerns the possible arrival of people from the outside. “What we read on social networks suggests that the Jurassians will want to join Moutier en masse”, further warns Steve Léchot.
Jura and Bern call for vigilance
Given the pandemic, the cantons of Jura and Bern have for their part called on the population to be vigilant and to strictly respect health measures. In a joint press release, they invite in particular “non-Provost residents to avoid traveling to Moutier on Sunday”. And underline that gatherings which would be created spontaneously on the sidelines of the ballot “cannot be considered as exceptions provided for by federal law”.