Officials have promised to look into how a controversial concert featuring Swiss and German far-right rock bands took place this weekend in eastern Switzerland. The local official who approved the concert licence says he was tricked.
The police said around 5,000 people attended the “Rocktoberfest” concert at the Unterwasser tennis hall in canton St Gallen on Saturday, with people reportedly travelling on buses from Germany and as far as the Netherlands and Russia.
The concert featured German rock bands Stahlgewitter, Frontalkraft, Exzess, Makss Damage and Swiss group Amok, which are well known for their extreme right-wing lyrics.
In a statement the anti-fascist group Antifa described the concert as the ‘one of the biggest Neonazi events that has ever taken place in Switzerland’. It claimed the organisers were from the international white supremacist group "Blood & Honour", which is banned in several countries.
The local police, which was present outside the hall, said the event went ahead without incident, with everything organised in an “exemplary" fashion, from parking to the clean up.
However, Rolf Züllig, the communal president of Wildhaus-Alt St. Johann, denied the local commune had given its approval to Rocktoberfest, which had initially been advertised on social media in southern Germany.
“We were completely deceived," Züllig told Swiss public radio, SRF. “The organiser said they wanted to hold a concert with five or six young Swiss bands and 600 spectators."
Officials want to know if the words sung during the concert violated anti-racism standards.
"If we had known that the event was linked to right-wing extremists, we would never have granted a licence," said Züllig. He said the local authority was examining whether to pursue legal proceedings against the person who applied for the licence. The communal government has also contacted the public prosecutor's office.
The Swiss Foundation against Racism and Anti-Semitism (GRA) announced on Tuesday that it had filed a legal complaint against the bands and the concert organisers for violation of Swiss anti-rascism law.
The Federal Intelligence Services (FIS) have no figures on the number of right-wing extremists in Switzerland. Their 2016 annual report says the situation is largely calm but the potential for violence persists in both right-wing and left-wing extremist circles,
In 2015, there were 28 incidents connected with violent right-wing extremism and 199 incidents connected with violent left-wing extremism of which the FIS is aware.