Swastika Ban in Public Spaces Approved by Voters in Geneva

Geneva will be the first of Switzerland’s 26 cantons to include in its constitution a ban on the display or use in public of symbols, emblems, and other objects of hate. The new article fills a gap in the law, as there is currently no federal-level prohibition in place.
The canton also becomes the first to require the state to implement a policy to combat discrimination and hate. This constitutional amendment, subject to a mandatory referendum, was supported by all parties except the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, despite the fact that the bill had already been approved by the cantonal parliament in June 2023 with executive support.
The bill to amend the constitution was introduced by the Swiss People’s Party parliamentarian Thomas Bläsi, whose grandfather was a survivor of the Mauthausen concentration camp. His party colleague, Yves Nidegger, eventually called for a negative vote on Sunday, arguing that it would be impossible to come up with a list of prohibited symbols.
Nidegger also believes that Geneva should have waited, as a similar issue is being discussed in Bern. The federal government is expected to prepare a bill after both chambers passed a motion to punish the use, wearing, and public dissemination of racist, glorifying violence, or extremist propaganda objects and symbols.
Several similar proposals have been discussed in the cantons of Vaud, Fribourg, and Neuchâtel, among others. They aim to combat the increase in anti-Semitic acts since the start of the conflict in the Middle East, as well as the use of hate symbols during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Translated by Deepl/Fernando Hirschy


Thomas Bläsi, a parliamentarian from the Swiss People’s Party who introduced the bill to ban hate symbols in public spaces in Geneva, has a personal connection to the issue, as his grandfather was a survivor of the Mauthausen concentration camp. This bill was supported by all parties except the Swiss People’s Party, with Yves Nidegger, a colleague of Bläsi, calling for a negative vote on the issue. The ban aims to combat the use of symbols, emblems, and objects of hate in public spaces.