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'Asylum centre in Schmidrüti: No thanks!'

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10:34 CET+01:00

Residents of a quiet hamlet in northern Switzerland are up in arms over the government’s plans to convert a disused missile base into an asylum centre.

Local residents in Schmidrüti protested loudly on Wednesday against the plan to provide 100 beds for refugees and have already started collecting signatures for a petition, Tages Anzeiger reports.

The village is currently home to 90 people, but should the plans go through this number would more than double.

Many residents are fiercely determined to prevent a repeat of what they remember as an unpleasant earlier experience.

In 1999, large numbers of Kosovan refugees poured into the area. Local resident Jakob Furrer recalled how they sat about by the roadside, looked into his living room, begged, and stole vegetables and washing from the clothes-lines.

“We felt constantly harassed,” he told Tages Anzeiger.

The local council intends to lodge a legal appeal against the plans on grounds that the government would need a special permit to renovate the missile base into accommodation for asylum seekers.

“We don’t want our little paradise ruined,” Yvonne Meier told the paper. She is concerned for her children, worried that they would not be able to play in the garden or take the bus.

Another resident has already ordered campaign stickers with the caption, “Asylum centre in Schmidrüti: No thanks!"

See also: Opposition mounts over planned asylum centre

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