Swiss Rioters Blitz Rightist Rally

Anti-foreigner stance incites violence
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2007 10:45 AM CDT
FILE ** Ueli Maurer, President of the Swiss People's Party SVP, smiles in front of a campaign poster reading "create security", during a press conference in Bern, Switzerland, in this July 13, 2007 file...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Bern was beset by rioters aiming to thwart a pre-election rally by the rightist Swiss People’s Party, expected to dominate this month's elections with its xenophobic platform. Masked protesters threw bricks and gas bombs and outwitted police by operating in small groups and destroying the party stage. The mayor admitted “impotence” in controlling the weekend riots, reports the Guardian.

The Swiss People's Party has made electoral gains with its recent anti-foreigner campaign, including a widely reported poster of three white sheep nudging a black sheep off a Swiss flag. It has also campaigned to outlaw minarets and to deport the families of convicted immigrants. Its blunt rhetoric that foreigners “are shamelessly abusing Swiss hospitality” has attracted UN condemnation.