In the municipality of Grellingen in the canton of Baselland, representatives of the Eritrean dictator gathered on Saturday to call for violence against refugees. The police were on site with emergency services. The area was cordoned off over a large area.

UpdatedDecember 9, 2023, 8:03 p.m

Ein Bild, das Menschliches Gesicht, Kleidung, Person, Im Haus enthält.

Automatisch generierte BeschreibungA screenshot from Tiktok shows the event.Image: Tiktok

A major police operation ran for hours in Grellingen on Saturday. An Eritrean event with around 400 participants took place near the Chez Georges restaurant. It was a private event for the Eritrean association in Switzerland, as the Basel-Landschaft cantonal police said upon request.

Several groups of people, consisting of opposition activists, made their way to Grellingen to end the festival. A spokesman said on the phone: “The Swiss authorities are failing again today and, in their blindness, are ultimately protecting the dictator regime in Africa!” In several WhatsApp groups and on Telegram there were calls to go there and demonstrate.

A reader video shows the heated atmosphere on site.

Video: reader reporter

The police cordoned off the area extensively after 300 regime opponents stormed the cantonal road between Grellingen and Duggingen. The result was kilometre-long traffic jams. Even residents couldn’t get through, as a bz editor reported. At the train station there were several vans with police officers in full gear.

Swiss police guard PFDJ eventEmergency services are in full gear at the train station.Image: Hans-Martin Jermann

The situation is under control and calm, as media spokesman Adrian Gaugler said. The police were able to prevent the various groups from clashing. She checked around 120 people and occasionally turned people away.

The police advised drivers to avoid the area as much as possible. There were also delays in train traffic between Basel and Laufen. According to loudspeaker announcements about people near the tracks.

In addition to the ambassador, two high-ranking politicians from Eritrea are also said to have arrived

A speech by the Eritrean ambassador was broadcast live on TikTok, as well as several other videos showing people dancing happily and exuberantly under the flag of the dictator’s regime. In addition to the ambassador, two high-ranking politicians from Eritrea who are close to the dictator are also said to have arrived.

For the Eritrean diaspora in Switzerland, it is a picture of sheer mockery. A representative of the Eritrean media association is beside himself: “How can people who have fled from a regime celebrate their country and the dictator in Switzerland? These are not real refugees!” He was on his way to the event himself to stop his compatriots from using violence against the event.

The police had carried out a situation assessment in advance. Due to past incidents at Eritrean festivals, she decided to have emergency services on site to prevent an escalation like the one in Opfikon (ZH) in September. At that time, hundreds of Eritrean refugees wanted to prevent and protest against the event organized by supporters of the dictatorship. There was a clash with demonstrators and the police. Twelve people were injured. There were three arrests.

Before the event in Grellingen, the organizers were sent an order with various conditions. According to the police, the organizers implemented or complied with these requirements.