Staid Swiss politics becomes a battlefield

bern1.jpgSwiss politics is finally getting the attention of the world’s media. Police in the capital, Bern, clashed on Saturday with leftwing militants who tried to interrupt a planned election rally by the rightwing Swiss People’s Party. The widely condemned violence is just another sign of rising tensions ahead of parliamentary elections in two weeks time. Justice Minister Christoph Blocher – who is also the party’s figurehead – accused the activists of seeking to suppress freedom of speech. Journalists noted that he also looked like a cat who’d just caught a mouse – rather pleased to be able to portray himself once again as a victim of the Left. The militants who stopped the People’s Party march were mostly members of the so-called Black Block, who’ve made a name for themselves in the past in Zurich, Basel and Bern after clashing with the police on a regular basis. Reports popped up on the BBC and Euronews, as well as in the Guardian, the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune. However, it should be pointed out that is nothing really new: 12 years ago, the same thing happened with same protagonists in Zurich. Security specialists also insist the Black Block is not a major security threat. For the alternative view of what happened, Indymedia Switzerland has provided this report.

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