An original translation by Nash Montana
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.