Lifeguards across Switzerland are routinely threatened and abused by migrant-background youths, according to the president of the country’s lifeguard association.
Michel Kunz, President of the Badmeister Association, said that the level of abuse, particularly towards female lifeguards, has increased saying in comments reported by 20 Minutes: “I have already experienced a lot, but what is currently happening in Swiss swimming pools is no longer sustainable.”
According to Mr Kunz, swimming pools in Switzerland have become places where “cultural differences clash. This is because some believe that women have nothing to say and become aggressive towards our employees.”
“Unfortunately we find that those bathers who are out of favour with women are often young people and men with a migrant background. They are not used to women giving instructions,” he added.
Vice-president of the Swiss Badmeister Association Sibylle Rykart added that she had been the victim of attacks including threats and had been spat on. “It did not exist before. This disrespect is a sign of the times,” she noted.
Lifeguard Alexandra Bürgi described her own encounters with migrant-background men, saying she had to flee her pool and call police after a group of four young men threatened her.
“Our problem as lifeguards is men, especially with a different cultural background. Most are between 18 and 22 years old. But it starts with 10-year-olds,” she said.
Neighbouring Germany has also seen troubles with migrant-background men and their behaviour at swimming pools. Last week in the town of Kehl, the local pool was forced to close early after a group of 50 North African-background men terrorised other bathers.
Even more serious has been the number of sexual assaults committed by migrants in swimming pools, especially those involving children as victims.
Less than a year after the height of the 2015 migrant crisis, German police reported a massive spike in the rape and sexual abuse of children at swimming pools.