Glance around Switzerland: Begging fines, cable car rescue and ID cards for illegal immigrants

Our round up of stories that you might have missed this week includes protests against begging fines, an emergency cable car rescue, continued construction strikes and more.

Glance around Switzerland: Begging fines, cable car rescue and ID cards for illegal immigrants
lostation/ / depositphotos

We have tried to give you a brief overview of each chosen story as well as a link so you can read more and follow up on it, if you want. 

Hundreds protest begging fines 

Photo: halfpoint / depositphotos

A crowd of around 250 people took to the streets of Lausanne this week to protest against a begging ban in canton Vaud, which came into effect on Thursday.

As a result of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP) 2016 initiative, people caught begging could now face a fine of up to 100 francs. Anybody found organising begging rings or making minors/dependants beg will be fined 500-2000 francs.

Ada Marra, of the Social Democratic Party, said it was regrettable that the “protection of the weakest was no longer guaranteed” and that the “poorest are now being criminalised”. 

More on this story can be found on the Blick website.


Rescued from cable car nightmare

Photo: kamizz / depositphotos

Eight people had to be rescued from a stranded cable car in the Rhine Valley by the Alpine Rescue Switzerland team (SAC) on Wednesday. Trapped passengers had to rappel from the cable car to get to safety during the two-hour ordeal.

The accident was the result of an empty cable car, further down the hill, becoming dislodged from its support cable and falling 12 metres to the ground. It is said to have caused more than ten thousand francs in damages.

Alarmingly, the cable car involved was only opened in April this year. At the time it was heralded as a world first due to it being self-operated. In the event of high winds, the system is supposed to automatically stop cable cars from being active. Reports suggest it was very windy when the incident happened. 

Authorities are currently investigating the cause and cable cars have been stopped until further notice. Pictures and more information can be found on Der Bund website.


Zurich wants ID card for all

Advocates show support for the ID card. The placard reads: “No person is illegal. Photo: Züri City Card Facebok Page

On Wednesday this week, Zurich city parliament voted in favour of introducing identity cards for all residents – including the estimated 14,000 ‘Sans Papiers’ or people living there illegally.

Advocates of the ‘Zuri City Card’ say all citizens of Zurich – regardless of residence status – should be allowed basic human rights and that the card would allow people to identify themselves to authorities, in particular the police.

They also say the card should grant holders access to public and private services without the fear of being arrested.

Zurich’s city council was itself against the motion, suggesting that giving illegal immigrants an identity card “could give undocumented migrants a false sense of security”.

More on this story can be found on SRF.


Construction strikes continue

Photo: jekershner7 / depositphotos

Following on from earlier strikes in Ticino and Geneva, another 1500 construction workers in the French speaking part of Switzerland put down their tools this week on Tuesday.

Strikers are a fairly rare occurrence in Switzerland but have been more regular this year (including 18,000 people striking last June in Zurich) due to ongoing issues over a new union agreement in the construction sector – particularly related to retirement age.

Read more: Why are strikes so rare in Switzerland?

This week, was the turn of workers from the cantons of Freiburg, Neuchâtel, Valais and Jura. The strike saw 80% of construction sites in Neuchâtel closed. More construction workers across Switzerland are expected to follow suit next week.

More on this story can be found on Le Journal du Jura website.


Capsule hotel opens in Lucerne

One of the pods on offer at Capsule Hotel Lucerne. Photo: Capsule Hotel Lucerne Facebook page

Earlier we showed you pictures of the brand new M-Budget hotel which has opened in St Gallen. But if that doesn’t sound like your thing, you might want try the Capsule Hotel in Lucerne.

As in similar hotels in Japan, guests sleep in small, futuristic bunker-like rooms to maximise space. From November 5, guests will be able to choose from the 19 pods on offer there.

The new hotel offers four different types of ‘rooms’ – including a larger premium pod and an option for women. 

Read more: In Pictures: First ever M-Budget hotel room unveiled


Arnie allies with Switzerland 

Arnold Schwarzenegger with the University of Zurich's Christian Schwarzenegger. Photo: University of Zurich

The University of Zurich has forged an unlikely alliance with action movie legend Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The Swiss university will work alongside the USC Schwarzenegger Institute and the non-profit organisation R20 – founded by Schwarzenegger – on the ‘Green Economy and Finance Initiative’.

“(We) will work together to accelerate the transition to sustainable clean energy and make the world safer and healthier for all its citizens,” said former Mr Olympia Schwarzenegger, in a statement on Monday.

More on this story can be read on the SwissInfo website.



Germany’s Rammstein band fans and sex assault protesters face off at Swiss concert

Around 150 protesters gathered outside a Bern stadium Saturday, trying to out-shout thousands of Rammstein fans pouring in to see their favourite band, despite a wave of sexual assault claims.

Germany's Rammstein band fans and sex assault protesters face off at Swiss concert

Brandishing banners with messages such as “I believe her”, and “Stop the rape culture”, the small crowd raised their middle fingers towards the concert venue and the far-larger gathering of black-clad fans of the German metal band.

The fans responded in kind, with a line of police officers separating them.

Swiss Women's rights group members demonstrate prior to the opening of a concert of Rammstein music band at Wankdorf Stadium in Bern

Swiss Women’s rights group members demonstrate prior to the opening of Rammstein’s concert n Bern on June 17, 2023. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Some 40,000 fans were expected for the sold-out concert at Bern’s Wankdorf Stadium, with another to follow on Sunday.

These are among the first concerts Rammstein have given since Berlin prosecutors this week opened an investigation against its frontman Till Lindemann following a slew of sexual assault claims.
Several women have come forward in recent weeks saying they were picked out at concerts and drugged to engage in sexual activity with Lindemann, 60, at Rammstein after-show parties.
Fans of Rammstein music band queue under portraits of band members prior to a concert

Fans of Rammstein queue by portraits of band members prior to a concert at Wankdorf Stadium in Bern on June 17, 2023. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
The alleged assaults happened during an ongoing 35-date European stadium tour by the industrial metal band, known for grinding guitar riffs, taboo-breaking antics and theatrical stage shows heavy on pyrotechnics.
‘Not shocked’
The claims, which Lindemann has strenuously denied, did not dissuade the die-hard fans, decked out in black Rammstein T-shirts and many sporting tattoos of the band, flocking to the show.
“This doesn’t affect us. We’re not shocked at all,” said Marie Rouillon, a 51-year-old Frenchwoman at the concert with her husband Arnaud.
The couple, who said they had been Rammstein fans for 15 years and have attended seven previous concerts, said they would of course be shocked if it turned out the allegations were true.
Swiss Women's rights group members demonstrate prior to the opening of a concert of Rammstein music band at Wankdorf Stadium in Bern

Swiss Women’s rights group members demonstrate prior to the opening of Rammstein’s concert in Bern on June 17, 2023, (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
“But would that stop us from seeing them? I don’t think so,” Marie said.
Lara Andermatt, 20, agreed.
“Maybe it’s true, maybe not, but I am here for the concert,” she said, adding that she was just super excited to finally see her favourite band live for the first time.
If the allegations turn out to be true, she said, “it’s not ok, but I will definitely still listen to Rammstein.”

‘Closing a chapter’

Rachel Weyermann, a 24-year-old from Bern, meanwhile said this was her fourth Rammstein concert, but that she would not be able to continue listening to the band if there was proof the allegations were true.


“If I knew it was true, I think this would be my last concert,” she said.


The scandal erupted after a young Irish woman posted on social media that she had been drugged and propositioned by Lindemann at a backstage party in Vilnius.


A wave of similar stories has since emerged through platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

An aerial photograph taken on June 17, 2023, shows the concert of Rammstein music band at Wankdorf Stadium in Bern.

An aerial photograph taken on June 17, 2023, shows the Rammstein concert at Wankdorf Stadium in Bern. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
One 20-year-old women who spoke with AFP before Saturday’s concert, who gave her name only as Adriana, said she had been contacted ahead of the event by someone offering her a spot up front and after-show party access.
She said she had turned down that offer, but that she was eager to see the band she has worshipped for nearly a decade live for the first, and likely the last time.
“I am seeing them live today, it’s like closing a chapter for me.”
The uproar around the allegations led to all after-show parties being cancelled at a series of Rammstein concerts in Munich last week.
It remained unclear if any after-parties would be held following the two concerts in Bern this weekend.
Young Socialists Switzerland (JS), the Social Democratic Party’s youth movement, and a number of feminist groups had launched a petition urging the promoters to call off the Bern gigs, which was signed by more than 7,500 people.
“We are clearly very disappointed that that didn’t work,” deputy-secretary Mathilde Mottet told AFP at Saturday’s protest.
“You have 40,000 people coming to watch a potential rapist… It’s completely scandalous.”
Holding up a bullhorn, she and others led the protesters in a series of dances and chants, amid a chorus of boos from some of the fans as they began to file into the hall.
One chant repeated frequently and angrily was: “Till Verschwindemann” , translated to “Till, get lost, man”.