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Thousands protest to support asylum seekers' rights in Switzerland

Saturday, October 01, 2016 - 00:50

Organizers say some 3,000 activists in Lausanne demonstrate in favor of better rights for asylum seekers, after critics accuse Switzerland of a clampdown on migrants. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). Thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Lausanne on Saturday (October 1) to demand the Swiss government do more to support migrants. Despite the heavy rain, the crowd of approximately 3,000 gathered to protest against the so-called Dublin system for handling refugees in the first country where they registered and urge the Swiss government to process applications for asylum in its own territory. With the migrant crisis in its third year, a deal between the European Union and Turkey has reduced numbers of people crossing the sea to Greece, making Switzerland's neighbor Italy the new front line. In July, more than 25,000 migrants arrived in Italy, 12 percent more than last year, EU border agency Frontex has said. Despite that, Swiss asylum requests in June, July and August fell by more than a third on last year, according to the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration. Some two-thirds of the nearly 7,500 migrants who reached Switzerland via the Italian border between July and early August were turned back. Among the crowd in Lausanne was Brian, who had traveled to Geneva to make his voice heard. "The situation in Europe is also terrible and that is why it is important to spread this battle outside Switzerland because the solution can only come at an international level. But in Switzerland we can already mobilize people's consciences," he said. Switzerland is expecting 35,000 asylum requests this year, the Swiss Federal Council said last month, down from about 39,500 in 2015 and more than 20 percent less than a previous forecast of 45,000. Critics of the clampdown have accused Switzerland of closing its borders, causing a pile-up in northern Italian towns including Como.

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Thousands protest to support asylum seekers' rights in Switzerland

Saturday, October 01, 2016 - 00:50