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Swiss right-wing extremists seek public attention

Members of a far-right group led a Covid protest march in the streets of Bern in January. © Keystone/Anthony Anex

Far-right and extremist groups in Switzerland are increasingly trying to use Covid protest movements to promote their own political views.

This content was published on February 12, 2022 - 12:47
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Experts say the extremists have openly led anti-Covid demonstrations, seeking visibility in public taken, taking advantage of an apparent lack of leadership.

“They want to gain attention in society and be politically more relevant,” expert Hans Stutz told SRF public radio. He notably refers to a protest in the capital Bern last month.

He added that far-right groups in Switzerland were part of a vast European network and had been trying to follow the example of extremist groups in neighbouring Germany and Austria.

Anti-Covid movements suffered a setback when a majority of Swiss voters endorsed the government’s and parliament’s health policy last November.

The defeat led to internal conflicts and divisions among some of groups, reports say.

SRF said none of the Covid protest group has openly distanced itself from the far-right activists.

Radicalisation

Meanwhile, one of the most high-profile far-right groups in Switzerland, PNOS, has decided to cease its activities.

The Swiss Nationalist Party said the government’s restrictions on public gathering during the epidemic were a factor for the demise of the party.

The group was founded in 2000 and was represented in two local parliaments and governments for a few years.

The Federal Intelligence Service is concerned about the changes in the far-right political scene, according to a report in the Saturday edition of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper.

Experts also argue the lack of party structures could lead a further radicalisation.

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