Progressive sections in the Swiss city of Zurich have intensified their campaign against the spike in neo-Nazi activities in the city. On February 12, on the call of several groups including the Movement For Socialism (BFS), Feminist Strike Collective in Zurich and Swiss Party of Labor (PdA), thousands marched in Zurich denouncing the increasing presence of neo-Nazi groups in civil life in the city and across the country. The protesters stated, “We’ve had enough! We are many and we are angry! We will not tolerate the presence of Nazis on our streets!” A petition initiated by the GRA Foundation against Racism and ant-Semitism and calling for a consistent ban on Nazi symbolism in public spaces was endorsed by 9,827 people, as on Thursday, February 17.
The anti-fascist sections in Zurich are especially concerned about a neo-Nazi youth group called Junge Tat, which has been active in the protests against the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Junge Tat had a visible presence in at least two anti-restriction rallies held in Bern and Zurich on January 22 and February 12, respectively. According to reports, the anti-restriction protests are mainly organized by associations of right-wing to extreme right-wing groups, including supporters of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), the anti-vaccine group Freiheits-Trychler, Mass-Voll, the Men’s WG (Swiss Men’s Club of Freedom) and Junge Tat. Even though working class sections are also apprehensive about many of the restrictions related to the COVID-19 safety protocols, progressive trade unions and the Feminist Strike collective in Zurich clearly distanced themselves from the anti-restriction protests that are swarmed by rights-wingers including neo-Nazis.
In its statement, the Movement For Socialism (BFS) said, “The anti-restriction demonstrations have once again shown that right-wing extremist groups exploit the dispersed structures of the opponents of the measures and the general but ideologically vague frustration of the protesting citizens in order to coup themselves to the head of movements and to provide a breeding ground for fascist ideas.”
Regarding the anti-Nazi mobilization on Saturday, PdA Zurich committee stated, “The Neo-Nazis are obviously comfortable between Swiss flags, cow bells and Holocaust disharmony. They want to show presence in the city and celebrate their hate sermons and despicable propaganda. Since last weekend in Bern, it should be clear to everyone that far-right organizations take over functions at the demonstrations. We don’t accept that Neo-Nazis are marching in Zurich unobstructed. We take the streets and won’t let the Nazis walk! Zürich.”
The Feminist Strike Collective in Zurich had earlier slammed the anti-restriction protesters for appropriating slogans such as “My Body My Choice,” which have a clearly emancipatory origin but are used by right-wingers in anti-vaccine protests.