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Swiss step up security after Paris attacks

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Swiss step up security after Paris attacks
A woman lays a candle at a gathering in Geneva for the victims of the Paris attacks. Photo: Lea Devigne
17:48 CET+01:00
Police and border guards in Switzerland are reinforcing security measures across the country in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night that left at least 129 people dead and more than 300 injured.

Representatives from the federal police (Fedpol), cantonal police and border guards met in Bern to discuss security measures in Switzerland early on Saturday, reported newspaper Le Temps.

Border controls are to be reinforced in collaboration with France, said the paper, while police presence at rail stations and airports in the country has been stepped up.

Police in French-speaking Switzerland also reactivated Vigipol, a coordinated security plan that was first implemented after the January attacks on the office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, Geneva MP Pierre Maudet told Le Temps.

“We are deploying more men, more visibly,” he said.

President of the federal government Simonetta Sommaruga condemned the attacks, saying: “I am deeply touched, very sad but also angry.”  

Speaking to broadcaster SFR at a press conference in Bern she said she was “profoundly shocked”.

“These attacks go against all the deepest-held values of our society and our humanity.”

“We will work together with the French authorities and we are also analyzing the current security situation in our own country.”

Swiss foreign minister Didier Burkhalter sent a message of sympathy to his French counterpart, according to an official statement, saying that "Switzerland feels ever closer to France during this testing time of suffering".

All Swiss security services are in a "state of increased vigilance", said the statement.

According to information provided by the Swiss ambassador in Paris, at present it is believed that no Swiss citizens were among the victims in the French capital.

Speaking to Le Temps, Geneva-based musician Eric Linder, co-director of the Swiss city's Antigel festival, said he was passing by the emergency exit of the Bataclan concert hall at the time of the attack and witnessed “scenes of war”.

“I saw people running, screaming, injured people, and the gunfire continued. I understood later that these were the people who were escaping the Bataclan,” he told Le Temps.

Around 100 people gathered in front of the French consulate in Geneva on Saturday afternoon in solidarity with the people of Paris, while flowers were placed there throughout the day.

A similar gathering took place in Lausanne in the early evening.

For further coverage of the Paris attacks see The Local France

 

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