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Swiss Train Fire Most Likely Due To Tech Glitch, No Role Of Rioters, Confirm Authorities

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Claim
A locomotive set on fire by Muslim rioters at a railway station in Zurich, Switzerland.

Fact
The train was not set on fire by any rioters, clarify authorities.

Several social media users are circulating a video of what appears to be a train on fire, claiming, “The Muslim riots made it to Switzerland. Train set on fire in Zurich.” 

Late last month, France was rocked by a wave of protests and violence after the police killing of a teenager, reportedly of Algerian and Moroccan descent.  Over a span of five consecutive nights, France witnessed widespread riots, resulting in more than 3,000 arrests. According to authorities, the intensity of the violence, primarily attributed to young individuals, including minors and migrants from Black and Arab communities, subsided by July 2.

The archived versions of the tweets can be seen here and here.

Were there riots in Switzerland?

In the first week of July,  several shop windows and a shop door were reportedly smashed in the city of Lausanne in Switzerland over the weekend in what police said was an “echo” of the riots in next-door France. The incident in Lausanne, in which six teenagers were detained, appeared to be isolated and a one-off as there were no other incidents in other cities.

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Fact Check

Newschecker noticed that the board on the railway platform in the video reads, “Alstetten”, prompting a keyword search using “Zurich Altstetten fire”.  We were led to this news report by Swiss broadcasting company SRF, dated July 7, 2023, stating that a fire in a locomotive in Zurich-Altstetten station restricted rail traffic for several hours on Thursday (July 6) evening.

“On Thursday, for reasons that are still unknown, the locomotive of an S-Bahn caught fire at 5 p.m. Train traffic in Zurich-Altstetten was subsequently interrupted at 5:30 p.m., according to the SBB,” read the report. A similar news report can be seen here.

Newschecker then got in contact with the Zurich City Police, where Brigitte Vogt, spokesperson, said, “We have no knowledge of rioters – Muslim or other. The reason for the fire is not yet clear but there was no riot,” sharing a press release on the fire.

According to the press release, on Thursday evening around 5 pm., the operations control centre of Protection & Rescue Zurich (SRZ) was informed that a locomotive at Altstetten station had caught fire. On site, the emergency services met the burning locomotive, from which the flames were already beating. “The cause of the fire is still unclear at this point in time and will be investigated afterwards,” read the release.

Newschecker contacted the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), who said, “The cause of the fire is being investigated. The focus is on a technical defect. There is no evidence of third party involvement.”

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Conclusion

A locomotive at a Zurich station falsely claimed to be set on fire by Muslim rioters in Switzerland.

Result: False

Sources
SRF news report, July 7, 2023
Email from Zurich City Police
Email from SBB


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Kushel HM
Kushel HM
Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

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