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Front pages reveal extent of London’s horror

The horror and terror in London are on all the Swiss front pages, as everywhere else

On the day after the attacks in London, Swiss newspapers comment that the British capital was always going to be a target of terror.

Amid extensive coverage of the horror and carnage on London’s streets and underground, commentators agree that “combating poverty… is the correct response to this provocation”.

“9/11 in London” was the headline across the German-language Blick, which rushed out a special edition for commuters on Thursday evening.

Other papers spoke of “blind terror” that was now a permanent reality, and some spoke of a destabilisation of the West.

Brutal transition

The Fribourg newspaper La Liberté pointed out that a city has never experienced such a brutal transition. On Wednesday, London was celebrating having won the 2012 Olympics; a day later it was reeling from terror attacks.

“From happiness to horror in less than 24 hours. And with the striking image of [British Prime Minister] Tony Blair having problems to find words of comfort.”

The Tages-Anzeiger newspaper of Zurich says even the most powerful nations of the world are powerless in the face of terrorism.

“The attacks in London have once more shown how powerless the most powerful nations of this world are against the blind fury of international terrorism. No country and no city with even rigorous security measures can protect itself against such attacks.

“The demonstrative determination of the government leaders [at the G8 summit in Scotland] to continue their meeting aimed at combating poverty in the world and protecting the climate is the only correct reply to this brutal provocation.”


The editor-in-chief of the Lausanne newspaper Le Matin does not mince his words in describing the worst carnage in the British capital since the Second World War.

“[The militant Islamic group] Al-Qaeda is becoming what the German Nazis were 60 years ago: a major threat to each and every one of us.”

The paper comments that the attacks on London will almost certainly not be the last because they were part of “a war” and not an “isolated act”.

The Tribune de Genève is concerned that terrorists are making the laws. “Modern terrorism is not a sporadic threat. It is on the contrary a permanent danger on the international scene.”

It adds that the “rebel reality” of the terrorists is making the world “less secure than ever”.

And like other papers, it says that we “knew for a long time that the British capital was a target of the terrorists” thus explaining the behaviour of London residents who walked home distressed but in no way surprised.

Shadow of terror

The headline of the much-respected Neue Zürcher Zeitung is: “G8 Summit in the Shadow of Terror”.

“If the suspicion hardens that Islamic extremists are responsible for the London attacks, this will cast a further dark shadow on the interim assessment of the global fight against terrorism,” it said.

The commentator in London’s Financial Times warns that neither force nor politics alone can conquer terrorism.

“The West will remain vulnerable to attack for many years to come. However we might yearn for them, there are no quick fixes in such a struggle. This is not a ‘war’ but a much more profound clash of values.”

The 24 Heures of Lausanne writes that this “new episode of blind violence shows the absurdity of civil war which tears apart the human race”.

Some newspapers try to find an answer to how the situation will develop in the future.

The Quotidien Jurassien feels “it is necessary for all Muslim countries to act with as just as much determination against Islamic terrorists as they [the terrorists] show.”

It adds: “And Imams who preach hatred and blood in the name of religion should be banned from the mosques.”

swissinfo, Robert Brookes

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR