A photo of the Swiss president travelling alone on a train was picked up and retweeted by astonished Twitter users abroad. But he’s not the first Swiss politician to forego bodyguards. (RTS/swissinfo.ch)
In Switzerland, cabinet ministers can be seen travelling, shopping, in the cinema or even jogging with only their kids for protection. Whether it’s because of the small size of the capital Bern, or the discreet nature of the Swiss themselves, cabinet ministers walking in the street or cycling to work are commonplace.
In recent years there have been some unique exceptions, though. In 2007, controversial rightwing politician Christoph Blocher was accompanied by nine bodyguards armed with umbrellas at a Swiss people’s party event.
Two years ago, cabinet minister Micheline Calmy-Rey was attacked with a black forest cake. However, the incident didn’t change her practice of moving around unprotected. While government security has increased slightly in recent years, it’s nothing compared to practices abroad, where some politicians try to remain incognito.