Protesters detained as Xi arrives in Bern


DAVOS, Switzerland — Police in the Swiss capital of Bern prevented a pro-Tibet protester from setting himself on fire Sunday on the sidelines of a demonstration against the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, officials said.

Bern police say 32 people were stopped for refusing identity checks and other disruptions as part of their deployment to secure Xi’s visit. On the sidelines of a demonstration around midday, security officials prevented a man who had doused himself with a flammable liquid from setting it on fire.

Police spokesman Christoph Gnaegi said those taken in by police were later released. He said no disruptions were caused by peaceful protesters who took part in a morning protest, but that some people afterward had caused minor problems leading to the police action.

Xi on Sunday kicked off a four-day visit to Switzerland, the first this century by a Chinese leader. The visit includes stops to U.N. institutions in Geneva, the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, and the World Economic Forum in Davos.

In a speech Sunday to members of the Swiss parliament in Bern, Xi said his visit was aimed to foster “peace and development.”

“The world situation is undergoing profound and complicated changes, influenced by incalculable and destabilizing factors,” he said. Xi said he hoped to “work out mutual solutions for important global problems and reach consent with all sides in order to send a positive message to the international community.”

Swiss president Doris Leuthard hosted Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, and others in the Chinese delegation for a dinner in Bern.