If the youth riots in Zurich continue, the Swiss army should be called on to come to the aid of the city’s police, according to a Zurich politician.

"/> If the youth riots in Zurich continue, the Swiss army should be called on to come to the aid of the city’s police, according to a Zurich politician.

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POLICE

Army could help quell Zurich riots: politician

If the youth riots in Zurich continue, the Swiss army should be called on to come to the aid of the city’s police, according to a Zurich politician.

The Swiss army should provide background logistical support as well as offering protection against the rioters, FDP (Liberals) local party leader Roger Tognella said on Swiss Radio 1.

“If riots continue weekend after weekend, then there will be certain tasks for the army and the military police to take care of,” Tognella said. 

Tognella sees a potential bottleneck in the capacity of the Zurich police to fight against the increasing number of rioters arriving from Zurich suburbs and even neighbouring cantons to go on the rampage in the city. 

However, Zurich city president Corine Mauch told radio station DRS1 she was satisfied with how police and lawyers have dealt with the situation so far, describing as appropriate the tough stance taken by the Zurich justice system against the rioters.

Some 90 people were arrested last weekend after further violent clashes between youth gangs and security forces on Saturday night.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the rioters who caused damages worth between 100,000 ($113,000) and 200,000 francs, by smashing windows and damaging cars. An iron rod normally used on building sites was confiscated.

Most of the detainees are not Zurich residents and are below 25 years of age although most are Swiss nationals. 

State prosecutors submitted 20 remand applications after last weekend’s riots. Ten people are still being detained while awaiting trial. Most escaped with fines and others were released from custody for the time being.

The riots began in Zurich on September 10th after about 1,500 revellers gathered in Bellevue by the lake on Saturday night for a large party as “revenge” for what was seen as excessive force by the police in shutting down a small open-air party of about 80 people under Duttweiler bridge in the city in July, according to Tages-Anzeiger newspaper.

Police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas after they claimed to have been pelted with bottles and stones when they tried to confiscate a sound system at the July party. An anonymous letter was sent by the party organisers criticising police for the level of force used to shut down a party which had not led to any complaints. 

The initiators of the unauthorised events have called for alternatives to be offered to the existing commercialised party scene, complaining they cannot afford the high cover charges and drinks prices at the city’s nightspots.

The event in Bellevue escalated when infiltrated by left-wing activists wearing hoodies and scarves who police said were bent on causing havoc. Police also said about two-thirds of the party-goers ran off when the violence started.

Again in Bellevue, police reacted with rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas after about 20 people climbed on top of a tram shelter.

Stones, building materials and bottles were thrown at police and bins were set on fire. Over 100,000 francs worth of damage was caused.

Last weekend, police teams were ready when the illegal “party” started in Central near the main Zurich train station. Unlike at previous events, most of the participants this time were “riot tourists”, according to Zurich police chief Daniel Leupi. 

The last major youth riots in Zurich took place in the early 1980s. Several hundred youths gathered in front of the opera house beside the lake on May 30th 1980 and were later joined by revellers who attended a Bob Marley concert in Hallenstadion that same night.

Zurich council had pledged 60 million francs for renovation of the opera house but refused money for an autonomous youth centre (AJZ). A spiral of violence began between young city dwellers and police with several hundred injured on both sides resulting in millions of francs worth of damages. 

As a result of the recent riots, Swiss politicians have raised questions about the ready accessibility of alcohol, increase in binge drinking and public transport system which runs through the night.

Ghettoisation and social marginalisation are not seen to be as bad in Zurich as in other European cities such as London and Paris, which have also recently experienced riots, although there is an underclass living in the Zurich suburbs like in any big urban area, Zurich police chief Leupi told Tages-Anzeiger.

Leupi said he is ready to engage with the rioters when they show they are ready for dialogue.

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QUALITY OF LIFE

Why are Geneva and Zurich high among world’s ‘most liveable’ cities?

Zurich and Geneva have been ranked once again in the top 10 best cities to live in but not everything is so rosy about life in Switzerland's two big cities.

Why are Geneva and Zurich high among world’s ‘most liveable’ cities?

Switzerland is the only country in Europe to have two entries in the top 10 in the new Global Liveability Index: Zurich is in the third place and Geneva in the sixth.

The study, carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit rates living conditions in 172 cities based on more than 30 factors. These are grouped into five categories: stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. 

Both cities score high across all categories, with highest marks given for heath care (100), followed by infrastructure (96.4), and stability (95).

The difference, though minimal, between the two cities, lies in the culture and environment category, were Zurich scored 96.3 and Geneva 94.9.

The lowest score both got, 91.7, is for education, which is surprising, as Zurich’s Federal Polytechnic Institute (ETH) has been named the best university in continental Europe for several years running, including in 2022.

READ MORE: Swiss universities still highly ranked but slip in ratings

The overall result, however, is not exactly a surprise, because the two cities (and sometimes also Basel, Bern, and Lausanne) frequently rank in the Top 10 places to live in the world.

Paradoxically, Switzerland’s two largest cities also routinely take top spots as the most expensive places to live in. For instance, both were ranked among the costliest for international residents in a survey published on June 14th.

So the obvious question is, how can two most expensive cities also be among most ‘liveable’?

At least part of the answer may lie in different criteria used to measure the quality of life versus costs.

The concept of quality of life defined by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which was also adapted in Switzerland, includes categories such as  health, education, environmental quality, personal security, civic engagement, and work-life balance.

Swiss cities (and Switzerland in general) scores high in all these categories, which explains the overall top rankings.

The cost of living, on the other hand, is determined by calculating prices of goods and services that are essential parts of individual or household spending.

These prices are totalled and averaged, and indexes are created to help compare costs of living in different locations.

As prices for basic necessities such as housing, health insurance, food, and public transportation, are much higher in Switzerland than in most of Europe, the country always ranks among the most expensive in the world.

However, as The Local explained in a recent article, in order to get a more accurate assessment of the cost of living, prices should be looked at in the context of purchasing power parity (PPP) — that is, the financial ability of a person or a household to buy products and services with their wages.

An in depth analysis by a digital employment platform Glassdoor concluded that in Switzerland (along with Denmark, and Germany) the average city-based worker can afford to buy 60 percent or more goods and services with his or her salary than residents of New York.

READ MORE : EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland’s cost of living isn’t as high as you think

And there’s more to the equation…

Most, if not all, participants in the global quality / standard of living indexes are international residents in each surveyed country — people who are typically high earners and have sufficient income to live well. That skews the results somewhat.

For instance, the Quality of Living Ranking conducted annually by asset management firm Mercer, bases its findings on responses by expatriate employees — people who work in high-level, well-paid executive positions — rather than those in lower-level jobs, like in retail or restaurant sector.

 READ MORE: What is the average salary for (almost) every job in Switzerland?
 
 

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