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Growing pressure to ban Nazi emblems

Nazi emblems could soon be banned in Switzerland Keystone

The Swiss parliament has come out in favour of a proposal to outlaw Nazi swastikas and other extremist emblems.

This content was published on March 7, 2005 - 21:18

The move comes amid government plans to combat racism and hooliganism in an effort to improve internal security.

The House of Representatives on Monday approved a proposal calling on the government to ban all emblems which advocate racial discrimination and violence.

Supporters said the aim was to put pressure on the government and support a petition approved by a meeting of Swiss youths in 2003.

But opponents, notably among the rightwing Swiss People’s Party and the far-right Swiss Democrats, argued that a ban would be ineffective and ridiculous.

Justice Minister Christoph Blocher said the government was prepared to discuss the issue as part of a series of measures to improve internal security.

He added that the law should be aimed at extremist groups which called for violence and disregarded human rights and democratic rules. But he came out against excessive restrictions on the freedom of expression.

More discussions

In December the cabinet approved a raft of measures to combat hooliganism, racism and terrorism.

They foresee a ban on racist emblems, such as the Nazi swastika, but stop short of outlawing racist groups.

Parliament is expected to debate the draft law later this year.

Similar proposals to ban Nazi emblems are under discussion in the European Union. Germany and Austria are the only countries which have outlawed them.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The Swiss House of Representatives has called on the government to ban racist emblems, such as the Nazi swastika.

The proposal was launched by a meeting of Swiss youths in 2003.

The government has already proposed a series of measures to fight racism, hooliganism and terrorism.

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