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Army exercise


Swiss troops train for mass migration scenario


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As thousands of migrants continue to cross land and sea to reach western Europe, Switzerland is making sure it is prepared if groups mass at its borders. (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

This weekend, thousands of migrants were stuck at the Hungarian/Austrian border, while more than 4,000 people fleeing their homelands were rescued in the Mediterranean on one single day.

It coincided in Switzerland with a large-scale army exercise codenamed “Conex 15”. Soldiers are training with border police so they know what to do if large groups head for the alpine country.

The army has been planning the exercise for several years: it is not specifically in response to the present crisis. But defence minister, Ueli Maurer, says Switzerland has a pool of 800 soldiers who could be sent to borders at any time to help question new arrivals, carry out patrols and assist with transport.

Several hundred people demonstrated against the Conex army exercise in Basel over the weekend, leading to clashes between police and protestors