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Police on high alert for election rallies

A large police presence will mark a planned rally by the rightwing Swiss People’s Party in Bern on Saturday ahead of national elections on October 23.

A similar rally held by the party during the election campaign in October 2007 was marred by violence as hundreds of leftwing militants prevented People’s Party supporters from marching through the capital to the parliament building.

Leftwing activists have called for a gathering “against racism” in Bern on Saturday which will coincide with the People’s Party event. 

Around 5,000 people are expected to participate in the People’s Party event. Many will arrive by coach and will be directed to Parliament Square under the watchful eye of party members and private security officials.

Media reports have suggested some 1,000 police officers will be on patrol in Bern on Saturday, although the exact number and cost have not been revealed by authorities. 

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR