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Bern's hot spot

Controversial culture centre closes

A popular culture venue and arts centre in the Swiss capital, Bern, has closed its doors following a series of violent incidents over the past few months.

The organisers on Saturday announced the Reitschule centre would remain closed until further notice because it could no longer tolerate the situation which often escalates at weekends and at night, including clashes with police.

The organisers said they were tired of bearing the brunt and taking the blame for social problems arising from a mistaken drugs, security and asylum policy of the city authorities.

The Reitschule was occupied by squatters in the 1980s. Rightwing political parties have repeatedly called for the centre to be shut down. They argue it is a hotbed of leftwing militants and troublemakers.

They have collected enough signatures to force another local vote on the issue but no date has been set.

The centre, which was used for horse riding and as a stable in the early 20th century, is a popular venue for a wide range of cultural events and activities.

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