Swiss police clear months-long quarry protest

Swiss police on Tuesday swooped down on environmental protesters who have been occupying a quarry owned by Franco-Swiss cement giant LafargeHolcim for months to protest against its plans to expand the site.

Swiss police clear months-long quarry protest
Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

A large contingent of police, many in riot gear, descended on the Mormont site in La Sarraz in the western canton of Vaud early Tuesday, asking the some 200 activists to leave or be removed by force.

The activists set up camp at the site in October, warning of the environmental and ecological consequences of Lafarge-Holcim’s plans to expand the quarry.

The company and the La Sarraz municipality had filed legal petitions to remove the activists, and the police operation came after the protesters’ legal appeals were rejected.

The move to clear the outer limits of the camp went off peacefully, but as the officers went towards a farmhouse at the centre, some protesters threw rocks and threw fireworks, an AFP photographer said.

“It is a high-anxiety situation. But we want to stick it out as long as possible,” one of the demonstrators told the ATS-Keystone news agency shortly before being evacuated by police.

The regional police said one police officer had been slightly wounded but none of the activists were injured.

By evening, police had detained 29 people, 12 of whom were taken into custody in nearby Lausanne.

A number of the activists remained up in trees or on the farmhouse roof, singing and shouting slogans against LafargeHolcim.

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Six injured as car rams into crowd in Switzerland

Five children and a woman were injured on Sunday when a car accidentally rammed into people gathered for a target shooting festival in Switzerland, police said.

Six injured as car rams into crowd in Switzerland

A woman frantically looking for help for an injured child drove into the square in Menieres, in the western Swiss canton of Fribourg, on Sunday where a shooting festival was taking place.

The car slammed into a group of people, injuring a woman and five children, Fribourg police said.

Several ambulances transported the injured to surrounding hospitals after the accident, which happened shortly before 3:30pm.

“Initial information indicates that the driver entered the festival square transporting a child who had been injured during a private activity,” the police said.

“For a reason to be determined by an investigation, she accidentally hit and injured people on the square before coming to a halt.”

The driver, who was not injured, was taken to a police station for questioning.