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Far-Right Austrian Figure Barred from Speech in Switzerland, Faces Police Action

Geneva, March 18, 2024, The Europe Today: A controversial far-right Austrian political figure found himself embroiled in a contentious incident in Switzerland as authorities prevented him from delivering a speech at an event and subsequently escorted him out of the region where it was scheduled to take place.

Martin Sellner, the leader of the Identitarian Movement—a group classified as extreme right-wing by Germany’s domestic intelligence service—was set to address attendees at an event organized by a Swiss group called “Junge Tat” (Young Deed) in Tegerfelden. Sellner’s intended topic of discussion was “remigration,” which advocates for the return, sometimes coercively, of non-ethnically European immigrants to their countries of racial origin.

However, Sellner’s plans were thwarted when Swiss police intervened, citing concerns for public safety and potential confrontations. Organizers had failed to comply with requests to cancel the event, prompting authorities to take action.

Sellner recounted the incident on social media, stating that he was forcibly removed from the venue by police, handcuffed, and subjected to a ban prohibiting his entry into the canton of Aargau for two months. He was subsequently escorted to Zürich.

Swiss police confirmed their intervention, emphasizing their commitment to maintaining public safety and preventing potential clashes between opposing groups. Sellner’s expulsion from the canton of Aargau was deemed necessary to avert any further escalation.

Authorities revealed that they had been alerted to the event in Tegerfelden following tip-offs, underscoring heightened scrutiny surrounding gatherings organized by far-right groups in the region.

Sellner’s encounter in Switzerland comes amid ongoing discussions in Germany about the possibility of banning him from entering the country. While such measures are not unprecedented, legal complexities within the European Union pose significant hurdles to implementation.

The incident involving Sellner underscores the tensions surrounding far-right activism in Europe and highlights the challenges faced by authorities in balancing freedom of expression with the maintenance of public order and societal cohesion.