Racism: Brazilian living in Zurich told to ‘go back to Africa’

A Brazilian woman has lodged a formal complaint with police after alleging she was racially abused in a supermarket in Zurich.

Racism: Brazilian living in Zurich told to 'go back to Africa’
File photo: Depositphotos

The woman had gone to the shop to buy mangoes, she explained to Swiss news portal 20 Minuten.

However, when Nadimeire S. touched a piece of fruit to see if it was ripe, a female customer told her not to handle the mango “like an animal”.

Read also: 'People of colour are automatically perceived as foreigners in Switzerland'

The Brazilian, who came to Switzerland two years ago to live with her partner, explained to the other customer that she intended to buy the fruit and was simply checking to see it was ripe.

She was then told to “go back to Africa”.

Nadimeire S. subsequently went to the police, lodging a formal complain against the woman who had abused her. Police confirm they are investigating the case.

“I really don’t want to complain and I know that there are people like that, but this week was particularly bad,” said the 31-year-old of the incident, explaining she has repeatedly been the target of racism or discrimination in Switzerland because of the colour of her skin.

“I want to integrate here as much as possible; I have already done two courses and work as an English teacher,” said the Brazilian, who was described as speaking good German.

Not an isolated incident

The case of Nadimeire S. is not an isolated one.

A report published in April by the Federal Commission against Racism (FCR) and Swiss human rights portal shows the number of racist incidents reported last year in Switzerland was a record high 301.

Racism against black people accounted for 95 of those cases, according to the study examining racist incidents reported to a network of 27 bureaus assisting victims of racism across Switzerland.

Commenting on the high figure, report co-author David Mühlemann said the 2017 rise could possibly be due to greater awareness among people affected by racism or better access to advice bureaus.

But Mühlemann also warned the figure “could also be an indication of an actual increase in incidents.” He said far-right political parties across Europe had made extreme positions more socially acceptable, adding “Many people no longer feel bound to social conventions and are openly racist.”

Read also: Zurich police found not guilty in racial profiling case


Switzerland sticks with mountain name despite ‘racist’ ties

A Swiss town on Wednesday refused to rename the Agassizhorn mountain despite its namesake's espousal of racist views.

Switzerland sticks with mountain name despite 'racist' ties
Switzerland's Agassizhorn. Image: Creative Commons

The 19th century Swiss geologist Louis Agassiz was known for research into fish, fossils and glaciers, but he has also been criticised in recent years for defending racist ideas.

After emigrating to the United States in 1846, Agassiz argued for racial segregation and hierarchies, and fiercely attacked Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

IN PICTURES: Powerful images from anti-racism protests across Switzerland 

But mayor of the town of Grindelwald, Beat Bucher, disagreed with those who wanted to change the peak's name, saying: “We cannot erase the stains of history.”

In a reference to the central Swiss summit, Bucher added: “It is better to accept it with its positive and negative aspects.”

The mountain peak, at just under 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) is shared by two other municipalities, Guttannen and Fieschertal, which had already rejected a bid to rename it.

A fresh effort was made after the killing in late May of George Floyd, an African American asphyxiated by a white police officer, generated a global wave of revulsion against racist symbols.

A similar push to rename the mountain was rejected in 2007.