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One thousand protest against right-wing extremism in Liestal

The police were out in force to greet the demonstrators Keystone

Around 1,000 people demonstrated on Saturday afternoon in Liestal, in canton Basel-Country, against right-wing extremism. The protest was held following a march through the town by 20 skinheads on August 17.

Even though Saturday’s demonstration was authorised, the police were out in force. More than 230 officers were on the streets, among them reinforcements from other cantons.

The police intervened during the march held just before the protest meeting. They arrested four young masked anarchists, which lead to a suspension of the protest until the demonstrators were freed.

The main speaker at Saturday’s protest was the former federal finance minister, the socialist Otto Stich. Stich said, ” the rise of right-wing extremism has gone far enough”. He reminded his listeners that “everyone is concerned when democratic values are defied and people publicly despise human life.”

A local youth association had initially set up the protest, before a committee with political backing took over. Among the protest’s supporters was the local Popular Party section.

They were reacting to a march through the town by 20 skinheads commemorating the anniversary of Rudolf Hess’ death, on August 17. Hess was Hitler’s right-hand man and was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Nuremberg war crimes trial.

The skinheads marched through the town carrying baseball bats, but the police remained passive. The behaviour of the police was severely criticised at the time.

Public and official concern about right-wing extremism has heightened in Switzerland in recent months. A national demonstration will be held next weekend in Berne.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR