About 100 Swiss members of the youth wing of the Socialist Party are expecting about 3,000 people from dozens of countries to participate in the camp in the village of Chandolin, Valais canton, that kicked off yesterday and runs until August 7.
But the killings last month of almost 70 young socialists in Norway by a lone gunman is on their minds. Police say they are increasing their presence their to prevent any possible copy-cat crimes.
“We are very aware this year of the question of security and we are working closely with the people in charge,” Valais police spokesman Markus Rieder told the website 20 Minutes.
“We will have patrols on the grounds ready to intervene if necessary,” he added. “And unlike our Norwegian colleagues, we won’t need an hour and a half to act!”
According to David Roth, Young Socialist president, the plans for the living quarters on the camp grounds have been provided to the police, who have also given camp leaders advice on what to do should a scenario develop like the one in Norway.
On July 22, Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, 32, detonated a bomb in central Oslo before going to the island of Utoya, where he gunned down dozens of mostly young people at a Labour Party youth camp taking place there. All in all, 77 people died.
Despite the increased security detail, Mattea Meyer of the Young Socialists said it is important not to become paranoid.
“The killings in Norway were a tragedy but we shouldn’t panic,” she said. “Above all, we need to create a good environment during the summer event.”