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Justice minister said to be under threat

Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has announced that she will not take part in the Sechseläuten procession, the traditional spring parade in Zurich.

This content was published on April 1, 2008 - 18:16

She decided to withdraw after the body which invited her received "serious threats".

According to Felix Müller, head of the Fluntern guild, some threats had been such as to put the minister's "physical safety" in danger.

Widmer-Schlumpf took her decision after consulting the federal police, which is responsible for the security of Swiss cabinet ministers at such events. A police speaker declined to say what advice they had given.

The minister, a member of the rightwing Swiss People's Party, replaced the party's controversial representative, Christoph Blocher, in the government last December, angering many Blocher supporters. A television documentary in March alleged that she was complicit in his removal from office.

The party, which is considering her expulsion, condemned both the threats against her and her decision not to appear.

The Sechseläuten procession is organised by the Zurich guilds. At least one member of the government is always invited to take part as a guest of honour. It parades through the city centre and is watched by thousands of members of the public, who have easy access to the participants, traditionally presenting them with flowers.

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