A group of police officers across multiple departments in Switzerland have threatened authorities that they will no longer enforce COVID-19 rules on citizens if they oppose the “general opinion of the population.”
In a four-page letter obtained by local Swiss outlet 20 Minutes, an association representing police officers in the Alpine country warned the Swiss Federation of Police Officers (FSFP) of potential insubordination within police forces.
“If the measures were to oppose the general opinion of the population, restricting their fundamental rights disproportionately, many police officers will no longer be willing to apply them,” the group said in the letter to the FSFP.
The news agency reported that the letter was praised among lockdown critics, who applauded the association on the Telegram social network by writing: “respect” and “we support you.”
The FSFP stated that the group amounts to a minority within the police federation’s 26,500 members and dismissed any threat of subordination among the officers.
Adrian Gaugler of the Conference of Cantonal Police Commanders threatened officers with sanctions if they are found to be non-compliant with enforcing CCP virus restrictions.
“An agent who refuses to apply a law in force is punishable,” Gaugler said.
The letter comes amid a surge in anti-lockdown protests across Europe, including France, where an estimated 200,000 citizens marched across the country in opposition to government-enforced vaccination passports, which are required since Aug. 9 to enter restaurants, trains, cinemas, theme parks, among many other places.
Also in Switzerland, more than 4,000 people recently gathered in Lucerne to demonstrate against COVID-19 vaccine restrictions, according to local media reports.
Switzerland notably kept schools open during the pandemic last year except from March 16 to May 10, when the country went into lockdown during the first wave. Swiss authorities didn’t consider children to be the primary drivers of the virus and only put in place preventative measures such as hand hygiene, physical distancing, and mask-wearing for kids aged 12 and older.
Symptoms of long COVID aren’t common in children, according to a Swiss study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on July 15.
Meiling Lee contributed to this report.