Swiss Police Catch 86-Year-Old Spraying Graffiti at SNB Site

  • Woman was participating in a political protest in Bern
  • Group wants to forbid SNB from holding defense company shares

Police briefly took an 86-year-old woman into custody for spray painting a slogan on a wall at the Swiss National Bank’s headquarters in Bern, according to authorities.

Her action on Tuesday was in support of a political campaign by an anti-army group to ban SNB from holding shares in companies that make weapons. Popular initiatives are commonplace in Switzerland, and the new measure follows an unsuccessful campaign in 2014 to force it to hold a portion of its assets in gold.

An 86-year-old woman poses by grafitti near the Swiss National Bank, April 11.

Photographer: Anthony Anex/Keystone via AP Photos

“I admire her courage,” said Lewin Lempert, secretary of the Group for Switzerland Without an Army, which is behind the campaign. “What is a little bit of vandalism in comparison to the millions of francs that flow into wars?”

The woman was released without charges, said Christoph Gnaegi, a spokesman for the Bern cantonal police. The SNB is looking into whether any legal action is warranted, a spokesman said.

The SNB’s building in the center of Bern is currently under renovation. The woman sprayed the graffiti on a temporary partition wall set up to screen off the construction site.

— With assistance by Hugo Miller

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