Swiss citizens have at times shown less interest than many Europeans in PC celebrations of diversity, as demonstrated by their voting against minaret construction (pictured below) and for deporting criminal aliens.
The latest is a neighborhood watch strategy moved to the next level by active observation of foreign criminals particularly asylum seekers, who are responsible for worsened crime. For example, as the video below notes, the level of crime in Geneva has increased by nearly a third, with most committed by auslanders.
When authorities cannot or will not protect public safety, then citizens often step into the breach. One example was the Minuteman movement to keep watch on America’s open border. For their efforts, the Minutemen were called vigilantes, as if that were a bad thing. In fact, vigilantes have filled a need in many cases, such as in San Francisco where the word originated in the lawless 1850s with the Vigilance Committees.
Swiss citizens who are taking action to protect public safety today have the same problem with authorities who aren’t doing the job but condemn those who are trying to help with simple observation and photography.
The article following is translated from the original French, Garde civique pour surveiller les requérants.
‘We demonstrate our presence’ / Vigilante group watching asylum seekers, translated on Vladtepesblog.com
In two St Gallen [swiss canton] townships, a group of annoyed citizens follows every step asylum seekers take. Now the authorities react.
‘Sexual harassment, vandalism, noise and drug dealing are almost a daily routine’, laments Hans Thoma about asylum seekers of the Landegg asylum centre at Eggersriet SG [St Gallen] in ‘Reporter’, SF [swiss state tv] programme. That is why he has formed a kind of vigilante group, together with a neighbouring village. ‘We demonstrate our presence, we document through photos the asylum seekers’ incorrect behaviour, and we report it to police’, according to Thoma.
Now, the canton has reacted: On monday, Jürg Wernli, director of the Appenzell-Ausserrhoden [canton next to St Gallen, both with interlaced borders] Interior and Cultural Department, announced first measures – more positions at the asylum centre, additional busses for asylum seekers and security services at train stations. These and more measures are to be implemented, in the interest of the neighbours of the asylum centre – despite the ‘palpable additional costs for the canton’, according to Wernli. Thoma considers this a ‘success of our engagement’.
However, Stella Jegher at Amnesty International warns: ‘Such action like the one shown by the Thoma group could tilt towards discrimination, even racism, if this leads to a kind of prejudgement of certain groups.’
Dangerous vigilante justice
Members of the ‘Informationsrunde Wienacht-Tobel/Schwendi bei [near] Heiden’ follow asylum seekers living in Wienacht AR [Appenzell-Ausserrhoden canton] (see text). This is not the only kind of a vigilante group in Switzerland: According to the ‘Zürcher Oberländer’ [paper], in the Zurich Oberland a patrol service intervenes against burglars. In Geneva, inhabitants chased tricky conmen, of which violent conflicts resulted. That is why Beat Flach, jurist and national GLP [Green-Liberal Party] MoP warns of vigilante justice: ‘Simply ‘demonstrating presence’ is at the legal borderline, the danger for escalation is great.’