Asylum seekers’ fight at Fribourg station leaves 1 in critical condition

FRIBOURG, SWITZERLAND – A fight that broke out at the Fribourg train station at 20.20 Tuesday 15 May has left one man, a 26-year-old Tunisian asylum seeker, in critical condition, say Fribourg police. Five men, all African asylum seekers, were arrested, but a sixth man fled the scene. Police are trying to identify the missing person and to piece together details of the incident. The cause of the fight has not been made public.

Two police officers were injured slightly by one of the men, who attacked them with a broken bottle before he was brought under control.

Earlier in the day the canton issued a statement saying Fribourg police had successfully drawn to a close a sting operation code-named Eden, that identified 66 North Africans living in refugee centres in the canton, who were implicated in the “flagrant” increase in a series of crimes, from robberies to car and home break-ins (up 410 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to the previous two years), violence and drugs, mainly in the city of Fribourg. All were either told to leave without the right to re-enter Switzerland or in the case of those applying for refugee status they were turned down.

Police insist, in their statement, that it would be wrong to generalize: most North Africans who have applied for asylum are not involved in crime.