'We Are Sorry': American Expats in Switzerland Plan Anti-Trump Protest Ahead of Davos

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'We Are Sorry': American Expats in Switzerland Plan Anti-Trump Protest Ahead of Davos

"He can hurt America but he can also hurt the rest of the world, and as we are a democracy we feel somewhat responsible for that."

Trump protest graphic

Campax, one of the groups planning the protest, has launched an online petition to send the message that U.S. President Donald Trump is "not welcome" in Switzerland. (Photo: Campax)

Ahead of the World Economic Forum's annual meeting next week, American expats in Switzerland are planning a protest for Saturday, the one-year anniversary of U.S. President Donald Trump's inaguration, to say "we are sorry" for his administration's "efforts to undermine peace, human rights, and environmental justice around the world."

"Almost all the Americans I've spoken to abroad, after the election, after Trump pulled out of the Paris accord, we all felt an overwhelming desire to approach strangers and apologize."
—Alexandra Dufresne, Action Together: Zurich

Alexandra Dufresne of Action Together: Zurich—one of the two groups planning the protest—told The Local that although organizers want the event to be lighthearted, it is ultimately inspired by a shared desire among American expats to publicly denounce Trump's behavior as president.

"Almost all the Americans I've spoken to abroad, after the election, after Trump pulled out of the Paris [climate change] accord, we all felt an overwhelming desire to approach strangers and apologize," she said.

"We were so ashamed and embarrassed, and had such a big impulse to say 'we are so sorry,'" Dufresne explained. "Because he can hurt America but he can also hurt the rest of the world, and as we are a democracy we feel somewhat responsible for that."

Campax, the other progressive group that is helping organize Saturday's protest, has launched an online petition to send the message that Trump is "not welcome" in Switzerland. 

Saturday's gathering will follow anti-capitalist and anti-Trump demonstrations that were held in Bern, the Swiss capital, last weekend. Those protests prompted the American Embassy to release a statement urging Americans abroad to "keep a low profile" and "avoid the areas of the demonstrations" related to the Davos meeting.

Dufresne told The Local she is concerned the Embassy's statement "could be interpreted as discouraging Americans from protesting," but added, "I assume that was an unfortunate mistake in their wording and the U.S. government would never intend in any way to discourage its citizens from the free speech that is so valued in America."

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