The initial reaction to the racist slogans was one of outrage. But then, causing great embarrassment to the party, it turned out that the slogans and images had actually been taken from an anti-SVP satirical website, stupidedia.org, a play on the popular online encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Quite how or why these comments found their way onto the Widen website is a mystery. It is unclear whether the Widen party had appreciated the satirical nature of Stupidedia, which describes the SVP as a band of fools.
“The SVP has a somewhat limited vocabulary”, the website says. “Words such as tolerance, human dignity, international agreements and helping those in need are unknown.”
“I was mortally upset,” Andreas Glarus, the SVP member for Aargau told online news website 20 Minutes on Monday. “The images were outrageously stupid.”
Glarus believes that those responsible were not thinking about what they were putting online and that they were totally naïve. He wants local party training to be given in order to prevent such an embarrassment happening again, 20 Minutes reported.
Items copied from the satirical website included terms such as “dirty Slavs” and “Turkish pigs”, which had originally been used to parody the racist nature of the party. The small print on the images derided the messages they purported to support.
The images were quickly removed from the SVP Widen website.
“This just shows how the SVP really thinks – racist and xenophobic,” said Ivica Petrusic, Vice-President of the organisation, Secondos plus, which represents migrants’ rights in Switzerland.
The President of the Federal Commission against Racism, Martine Brunschwig Graf, wants an explanation both from the local Widen branch as well as from the Swiss umbrella SVP organisation, 20 Minutes reported on Monday.
“This is a perverse form of xenophobia, probably illegal and completely unacceptable,” she said.
The SVP has sparked controversy on a number of occasions, and is infamous for its campaign posters, which are considered racist and xenophobic by many.