The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Eritrean Groups Clash in the Street in Gerlafingen

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 1 April 2024

In Gerlafingen SO, confrontations flared as Eritrean regime critics clashed with supporters, prompting police intervention.

Eritrean Groups Clash in the Street in Gerlafingen
Keystone/PETER SCHNEIDER

Around 180 Eritreans critical of the regime clashed with pro-regime supporters in Gerlafingen SO on Sunday. The Solothurn cantonal police used water cannons and tear gas to prevent an escalation.

A group of 350 supporters of the Eritrean dictator Isaias Afewerki had gathered in Gerlafingen for a party, as reported by the Solothurn cantonal police late on Sunday evening.

Armed in part with stones, iron bars and sticks, around 180 Eritreans critical of the regime traveled to Gerlafingen to actively disrupt the event. A clash between the two parties was prevented by the police. According to the Solothurn cantonal police, neither side was interested in de-escalation.

A policewoman was injured by a stone thrown during the operation. According to the cantonal police, several policeman were already on site before the dissidents arrived. The area around the Gerlafingerhof, where the festival had taken place, had been cordoned off to prevent a possible clash between the two groups.

After the event was spread via social media, the Bern cantonal police were called in with several officers and a water cannon. Around 60 police officers from the Solothurn and Bern cantonal police forces were deployed.

“Vigilante justice is not tolerated in Switzerland”, commented the FDP Switzerland on X. It was unacceptable behaviour on the part of refugees who had received international protection in Switzerland.

In the past year, there have been repeated incidents of violence between Eritreans in Switzerland and Europe.

Among other things, the police intervened in a brawl in Opfikon ZH, and a rally in Rüfenacht near Bern was canceled at short notice due to security concerns. In February, the police deployed a large contingent to protect a gathering of Eritreans in Villars-sur-Glâne (FR).

©Keystone/SDA

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