Tougher rules rejected to crack down on violence

Police monitoring the situation near the autonomous youth centre in Bern on Saturday night Keystone

Parliament has rejected calls to increase punishment for those who attack or threaten police officers.

This content was published on February 27, 2017 minutes ug

A majority of the Senate on Monday threw out a motion brought by a member of the rightwing Swiss People’s Party three years ago, saying current law was sufficient.

Supporters argued it was time to deliver a clear message to “extreme leftwing hooligans” and “criminals”. The motion calls for prison sentences of up to five years.

Opponents, including Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga, agreed more needed to be done to protect police officers against increasing violence.

But they said the motion, which had won a majority in the House of Representatives during a parliamentary debate last September, would set unfair legal rules.

Other proposals are still pending in parliament.

Since 2000, there has been a steady increase in the number of attacks on police throughout Switzerland.

Monday’s debate coincided with clashes between mainly young rioters and police in the streets of the Swiss capital, Bern, over the weekend.

The latest wave of violence began last Wednesday, when it took police several hours and a barrage of rubber bullets to clear a house occupied by squatters who were throwing fireworks, furniture and other items at the police – who arrested 19 people.

At least 12 police officers and a squatter were injured in the clashes over the past five days. 

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