Police treat radicalised Covid deniers like Islamists

Fedpol says protective measures for individuals have recently been strengthened, without giving details. Here, three government ministers, (from left) Ueli Maurer, Alain Berset and Simonetta Sommaruga, welcome Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to Bern in September Keystone

Violent threats from coronavirus sceptics and opponents of government measures to combat the pandemic are increasingly occupying the Federal Office of Police (Fedpol). The authorities have warned such people that they are under surveillance.

This content was published on November 1, 2020

“The increasing readiness for violence in the coronavirus denial scene is a major concern for us,” said Fedpol spokesman Florian Näf in the SonntagsBlickExternal link. “It’s alarming.”

Fedpol was currently seeing a significant increase in “expressions of displeasure”, including threats, Näf said. These were mainly directed at the Federal Office of Public Health and at politicians at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic.

“In recent months protective measures for individuals have had to be reassessed and strengthened,” he confirmed. The SonntagsBlick said the government would not give any details, but this is thought to refer to Health Minister Alain Berset in particular.

The paper says the government, in cooperation with cantonal police forces, holds “at-risk conversations” with potential violent criminals. The police visit such a person, assess their risk and make it clear that they are being watched. This method has proven its worth with radicalised Islamists, according to the SonntagsBlick.

Normally there are several hundred cases of such reports per year, which are sent by email to members of the federal parliament or to members of the authorities, Fedpol spokeswoman Cathy Maret told news agency Keystone-SDA/ATS. This year, she said, there had already been more than 1,000 such reports. About 40 were directly related to the Covid pandemic.

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