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Right-wing extremism looming larger in Switzerland

The neo-Nazi movement made its presence felt in 2000

(Keystone Archive)

The federal police are bracing for another year of right-wing extremist activity, following a record rise in the number of incidents during 2000. A spokesman said it was imperative that extremists were prevented from forming a coherent political movement.

The federal police office said right-wing extremists were likely to step up their activities this year, based on trends observed in 2000.

A spokesman, Jürg Bühler, told swissinfo the number of extremists active in Switzerland was increasing, and that there had been a three-fold rise in right-wing incidents last year. He added that 40 incidents had involved acts of violence.

His comments followed the latest incident, last weekend, in the town of Olten, where some 50 right-wingers marched through the streets.

Bühler stressed that right-wing extremism in Switzerland was a growing threat, and that people should not be under any illusion that such activities were just outbursts of youthful exuberance.

"Apart from the scattered groups that we had before, we now have real coordinated activity here in Switzerland," he said. "It's important to make society aware that there is an extremist scene in the country."

The head of the federal police's service for analysis and prevention, Urs von Daeniken, told a Swiss newspaper on Friday that extremists were well organised and well-connected with networks abroad and that the problem needed to be tackled before they became a significant political force in Switzerland.

"We must take steps to prevent the neo-Nazi movement from constituting itself into a vote-winning party."

Von Daeniken said the problem needed to be tackled in a coordinated way, and that a knee-jerk reaction should be avoided.

Bühler told swissinfo that a number of measures to curb right-wing activity and promote awareness of it were in the pipeline, including an education campaign in schools and stricter border controls to prevent foreign extremists from entering the country.

swissinfo


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