Of course, what we see here is 100% predictable when a government stops representing the people of the area and start representing an ideology which no one wanted. The only reason it is not much more wide spread, is that law enforcement tends to be much more aggressive with competing agencies than they are with actual threats to the public safety and property.
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.’