Police urges greater vigilance in face of far right

Right-wing extremists heckled the finance minister's speech on National Day Keystone

A new report from the Federal Police has confirmed that right-wing extremism is growing in Switzerland. It said far right militants are not a great danger to national security but that they are increasingly likely to turn to violence.

This content was published on September 19, 2000 - 16:21

The report published on Tuesday, urges the authorities to remain vigilant. It also warns that the political potential of the far right could rise dramatically if it acquired a charismatic leader or developed a national hierarchy.

The police report says the hard core of the far right in Switzerland numbers about 700, and that many of them are under-age. It says they are increasingly forging links with militants in other countries and making more and more use of new technologies such as the Internet to liaise and to disseminate information.

The police said 1999 had seen a repeat of the sort of attacks that had died down since the early 1990s. They said there had been 11 attacks on asylum seekers last year.

The report confirms the trend identified in a report on right-wing extremism released in May, and also experienced in other European countries, notably Germany.

The publication of the latest findings came as Swiss and German police officials pledged closer cooperation in the fight against extremists and racists, particularly in areas along the border the between the two countries.

A statement issued on Tuesday after a meeting of police officials in Waldshut-Tiengen in Germany said cross-border cooperation would be stepped up with a series of measures.

These include preventing right-wing extremists from entering or leaving their home country for meetings, an increased exchange of information, and joint action against racist propaganda on the Internet.

Police from several Swiss cantons, as well as the federal police and representatives from the German state of Baden-Württemberg took part in the meeting.

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