Swiss army sends 10,000 personnel for Euro 2008
The Swiss army is launching its security operation for the European Championship with 10,000 military personnel this week.2 June 2008
GENEVA - The Swiss army is launching its security and support operation for the European Championship with 10,000 military personnel starting their service this week, the armed forces said Sunday.
The troops, which will begin with specific training Monday, will support police officers assuming the major security role during this month's tournament, which is being co-hosted by Austria.
The military personnel will not carry out law enforcement, it said, as this is the responsibility of the police. Swiss police will be reinforced by police officers from neighbouring Germany and France.
"Wherever possible the troops will avoid direct contact with football fans," the armed forces said in a statement.
About 75 percent of the military personnel will carry out their mission unarmed, it said.
The army's tasks include supporting the police in traffic control, vehicle checks, reinforcement of border controls, delivering equipment such as material for cordoning off areas, and surveilling the air space.
The military servicemen taking up their mission Monday will join advanced military personnel that has already been on duty since the beginning of April in the host cities Basel, Bern, Geneva and Zurich.
Up to 15,000 Swiss Army personnel will be on standby from 2-28 June, the armed forces said. The Euro 2008 final is set for 29 June in Vienna.
The security bill in Switzerland is budgeted at CHF 64.4 million, with just over half paid from federal funds and the rest coming from taxpayers in the 26 cantons.
[AP / Expatica]