As mentioned in last night’s news feed, a violent confrontation took place yesterday afternoon between Turks and Kurds in the Swiss city of Bern (or Berne, for Francophones). A number of people were injured in the battle, several of them when a Turk drove his car at full speed into a crowd of Kurdish demonstrators. Early accounts saying that two people were killed seem to be false; there are no reports of fatalities.
The following news report is from Swiss-German television Many thanks to Nash Montana for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
Below is a news report on the same topic from Tages Anzeiger, also translated by Nash Montana:
Over a Dozen Injured in Riot near Bern, Switzerland
Riots broke out between participants of an authorized and an unauthorized demonstration. Turkish and Kurdish nationalists rioted. Four policemen were injured. A car slammed into a crowd of people.
In the early afternoon of September 12th, the inner city of Bern, Switzerland lit up when a group of Turkish and Kurdish nationalists incited a riot. A group of participants in a non-authorized demonstration occupied Helvetiaplatz, and attacked the police. They also attacked participants of another, authorized demonstration.
The police confirmed over a dozen people were injured, among them four police officers and one K9. This although even before the unauthorized demonstration took place, they were offered a different location by the police. But the group opposed the offer, so the police felt forced to clear Helvetiaplatz.
Both groups were heavily armed with bats, iron bars and other weapons, and it was extremely hard to separate them. The police had to use tear gas and rubber bullets. After the riot, Kurds accused the police of being extremely heavy-handed towards them.
The police also reported several incidents in which cars were involved. One driver used his car to slam into a group of people. In another incident, a man was pulled out of his vehicle and assaulted.
Supposedly there is a video making its round right now that shows a car slamming into a group of Kurdish nationals.
According to one female Kurdish participant in the riot, the Kurdish nationalists planned to disrupt an authorized demonstration of ‘Turkish Nationalists’. One eyewitness reports, “The Turks had stones thrown at them, so the cops shot gas bombs into the unauthorized group of Kurds.”
Another eyewitness reports “extremely aggressive circumstances”. The mood in the city took on an explosive undertone already early in the morning. “As we walked past Helvetiaplatz there were at least two injured Turks on the ground.” He also witnessed how demonstrators kicked down police barriers and set off fireworks.
The demonstration was organized by the “Union for Turkish Democracy in Europe”, the UETD. According to the organizing person, the demonstration was completely legal and authorized by the City of Bern. The Turkish UETD is closely affiliated with the Turkish Government Party the AKP. But they are not ‘Turkish Nationalists’, said the UETD representative Hakan Gobkas.
With this demonstration they wanted to protest against terrorism and the ‘Kurdish conflict’ in Turkey. In other words, they were protesting against Kurdish terrorism. There were about 100 participants, as their peaceful protest march was squarely disrupted by supporters of the PKK, the Kurdish Workers Party, which was in the majority with about 180 participants.
About four hours after the rioting started, the situation in Berne’s inner city has calmed down again. However, traffic routes through Helvetiaplatz and Casinoplatz were still not passable. The police maintained the barriers and blocked traffic until late into the night.
|00:02||Unbelievable. At a Kurdish demo a car plowed into a group of people.|
|00:06||The car had a Canton Aargau license plate, multiple people were injured.|
|00:16||“He aimed exactly into the middle of a group of people. First information available says that behind the wheel|
|00:21||sat a Turkish driver with an Aargau License plate, who may have thought|
|00:24||this way he might end the demonstration of the Kurdish nationals.|
|00:26||The driver injured multiple Kurdish demonstrators.|
|00:30||Pascal Werner witnessed the whole scenario:|
|00:33||“There was a black car coming up the road, and he sped up and he|
|00:37||just hit this group of people standing there and some of them|
|00:40||they were thrown up in the air like a bunch of dolls over the top of the car.”|
|00:46||This afternoon hundreds of Kurds that are supporters of the PKK|
|00:50||were demonstrating on Berne’s Helvetiaplatz against the Turkish Government.|
|00:55||This demonstration happened as an answer to the demonstration of Turkish Nationalists.|
|00:59||Suddenly a car appears, and just mows down the Kurdish demonstrators.|
|01:03||Shortly after 7pm, the police announce the status of injuries:|
|01:11||“According to most recent knowledge I can say at the moment that|
|01:15||more than a dozen people were injured in connection with the demonstrations,|
|01:19||…Umm, that is, on top of the four police officers who suffered injuries,|
|01:24||as well as one K9 dog that also suffered injuries.”|
|01:28||The police of Canton Bern have already apprehended the driver of the vehicle and arrested him.
For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.