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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Swiss press shocked by Zug shooting
Mourner's note and flowera
Why? asks a mourner's note - and the Swiss press too
Swiss newspapers on Thursday were struggling to come to terms with the massacre which left 14 people dead.

On Wednesday, a man burst into the local assembly in the central Swiss town of Zug and opened fire, before setting off a grenade and then turning the gun on himself.

This act threatens confidence in open society, and especially in the directness in dealing with the representatives of our political representatives

Neue Zuercher Zeitung
Many papesr say this unprecedented event will change the traditionally open system of administration in Switzerland.

"In Switzerland we were proud that our federal and local government officials could walk about in public without bodyguards," writes Matthias Halbeis in the Berner Rundschau.

He writes that discussions are already underway on how security measures will have to be changed.

The attack was unprecedented in Switzerland
The Neue Zuercher Zeitung says that the free access Swiss citizens have traditionally had to their democracy is an essential element of Swiss society.

"This act threatens confidence in open society, and especially in the directness in dealing with political representatives," it writes.

The newspaper agrees that new measures will have to be implemented, but warns that nothing can prevent a determined gunman from carrying out his mission.

"Citizens will have to get used to certain hurdles in access to public buildings but without losing the culture of transparency," it says.

We have been struck full on by murderous madness in Zug, in the heart of the country

Le Matin
Reflecting a sense of disbelief that such an attack could take place in Switzerland, Le Matin columnist Denis Pittet writes: "The world is mad."

He adds: "We have been struck full on by murderous madness in Zug, in the heart of the country, in a region best known for its financial attractions rather than as a theatre for scenes worthy of cities overrun by the worst kind of mafias."

But the Tribune de Geneve, in turning its spotlight on the region of Zug, finds it less than perfect.

Its status as a tax haven, the paper says, has drawn undesirable elements.

It also points out that Zug has long been condemned for money laundering.

The act is triggered by a banal event, apparently insignificant. The famous straw which breaks the camel's back

La Tribune de Geneve
Its image is also not helped - the paper writes - by the presence of Marc Rich - the exiled US businessman spared extradition by a controversial presidential pardon, granted by Bill Clinton.

The Tribune de Geneve tries to understand what could move the gunman, Friedrich Leibacher, to carry out such an atrocity.

Switzerland has reacted with disbelief
Frustration builds up and "the act is triggered by a banal event, apparently insignificant - the famous straw which breaks the camel's back".

While police have ruled out any connection with the attacks on the United States, the paper says they may nonetheless have had a contributory effect.

"Leibacher's act should be seen the tense atmosphere which is currently reigning everywhere in the world," says the Tribune de Geneve.

Le Matin finds another parallel between Zug and the 11 September attacks: a lack of understanding and communication, which exists between people as well as countries and religious groups.

"Too often people's growing loneliness is met with scorn and harshness from others," the paper writes.

"Pushed to the end of their tethers, they are reduced to using the most extreme measures to fight back."

The BBC's Justin Webb
"The population has been coming together in grief and shock"
See also:

27 Sep 01 | Europe
Swiss mourn gun rampage victims
27 Sep 01 | Europe
Gunman kills 14 in Swiss assembly
27 Sep 01 | Europe
Eyewitness: Swiss attack horror
27 Sep 01 | Europe
Switzerland and the gun
30 Jul 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Switzerland
16 Jan 01 | Europe
Timeline: Switzerland
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