Nazi gathering planned for Sunday

An annual Nazi march scheduled to take place on Sunday is expected to attract double the numbers that attended last year.

The police are on high alert following rumours that some 300 right-wing extremists plan to gather on Sunday on the Rütli, the mountain meadow in canton Uri where the first oath of the independent Swiss Federation was thought to have been sworn.

Similar gatherings of sympathizers and members of the Nationally Oriented Swiss Party have occurred in the past few years, online news site 20 Minuten reported.

According to Bernese anti-fascists, the party is supported by the Hammerskins and the Neo-Nazi Blood and Honour groups, some of the country's most violent right-wing extremists.

The Federal Intelligence Service will be assisting the police on the day, who are ready to intervene should any trouble break out, including in the event of a breach of the anti-racism laws.

Police are expected to take a tough line against the marchers; 64-year-old man was recently sentenced under the anti-racism legislation for raising his right flattened hand at the party’s march in 2010.

The Young Socialist Party says it is furious that the demonstration is being allowed to proceed. They are frustrated that the police can only intervene in the event of a breach of the law, and have requested the Swiss Public Welfare Society (SGG), the body responsible for the upkeep of the meadow, to stop the march from going ahead.

The Young Socialists are now considering calling their own counter-demonstration on Sunday. They have also requested that the SGG themselves demonstrate, but this has been refused by the society’s leaders.

The SGG is more an organ of the federation than its own political body, and a political demonstration against the right-wing extremists could therefore be interpreted as being by the government itself.

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Worries in Switzerland as secret Neo-Nazi concert set to go ahead

An underground concert organised by a violent neo-Nazi organisation banned across Europe ias set to go ahead in the Swiss canton of Valais on Saturday.

Worries in Switzerland as secret Neo-Nazi concert set to go ahead
Image: Sebastian Haak / dpa / AFP

The Edelweiss Concert, which features bands from across the right-wing extremist scene, is being organised by members of the militant, far-right Blood and Honour music network. 

A flyer promoting the concert has been doing the rounds in far-right circles across Switzerland and Europe. 

The flyer, which shows the Matterhorn in the background, does not provide a location for the concert but requires attendees to register their email addresses, before being informed of the location closer to the event. 

READ: Switzerland's SBB suspends 'neo-Nazi' transport police officer for extremist views

The flyer asks attendees not to share pictures of it through WhatsApp or Twitter. 

‘Blood and Honour’

Blood and Honour, founded in England in the 1980s, brings together far-right bands and record labels to organise events raising money for extremist causes. 

Blood and Honour is banned in Germany, Spain and Russia, while it is designated as a terrorist organisation by the Canadian government. 

Three bands are listed as headliners for the event, all of whom have been active for years in the Neo-Nazi music scene. 

Image: Sebastian Haak / dpa / AFP

No police intervention?

Police have been made aware of the concert and are classifying it as “problematic”. Police have told Swiss media they are currently working with local authorities to ensure the population is aware of the threat. 

“In general, Swiss security services take violent extremism very seriously,” a police representative told Swiss newspaper Watson

While the police said they have investigated ways of cancelling or moving the concert, protections on freedom of expression prevent its prohibition. 

The police also indicated they have considered banning foreigners entering the country for the purpose of attending the event, although they would not reveal whether any such bans had already been imposed. 

The concert is said to be the biggest far-right music festival held in Switzerland since 2016’s Rocktoberfest, held in Unterwasser in St Gallen. 

That event attracted over 5,000 Neo-Nazis from across Europe, raising money for the National Socialist Underground organisation in the German state of Thuringia. WOZ reports that the money raised from the concert was used for buying weapons and ammunition for the organisation, as well as to facilitate its expansion. 

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