GENEVA, Switzerland – Geneva’s police and security councilor, Pierre Maudet has slammed the vandals that scrawled slogans and graffiti on several historical buildings, monuments and businesses in the city centre, causing tens of thousands of francs in damages.
The unauthorized demonstration started at around 22:00 Saturday 19 December and lasted for about two hours.
The défilé sauvaGE—or wild parade using the French abbreviation for Geneva (GE)—was seemingly called by a group of anarchists complaining about further cuts to subsidized culture, and not by any of the actual organizations that have been protesting the budget reductions.
Some of the acts were caught on video as shown here by Leman Bleu.
Over 500 “angry people!” [des gens en colère!] first gathered at the Cropettes Park, then headed to Cornavin, Bel Air and Place Neuve to protest against banks, police, the lack of alternative culture and the “establishment.”
The protesters ran amok vandalizing businesses, reports the TDG which also carries a photo gallery of the damages.
The Grand Théâtre, a historical building in the centre was heavily tagged as were high-end stores.
Small businesses were also compromised, many saw their windows shattered.
Police have said they stayed clear from the protesters during the graffiti spree, as part of their “non-engagement” policy, but they have been heavily criticized for their “hands-off” style.
“With over 500 people on the street, looking for confrontation would have only accentuated the problem,” said Geneva Chief of Police, Monica Bonfanti.
Police are now studying video tapes from surveillance cameras that might show the identity of the vandals and defending themselves from critics who argue that they were overwhelmed and unprepared to defend the city.