Unguarded border post allows traveller caravans to enter Switzerland

Swiss borders with France remain closed for the time being. But nobody stopped a 35-caravan procession from coming into Switzerland this week.

Unguarded border post allows traveller caravans to enter Switzerland
The caravans crossed the Swiss border without being stopped. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Under the current restrictions, which have not been lifted yet, only eligible persons, such as Swiss citizens and permanent residents, as well as cross-border workers with a G-permit, are allowed to enter the country.

Everyone else is being turned away at the border. 

But despite these restrictions, the caravans were able to drive into Switzerland without being intercepted, even though French customs authorities alerted their Swiss counterparts that the convoy was about to cross into Geneva.

READ MORE: Calendar: When can Swiss residents travel abroad this summer? 

It turned out, however, that at the time of the crossing the border post was not guarded.

Swiss police hot-footed it to the border but arrived too late to stop the caravans.

“All the caravans were already in Switzerland. They were heading towards the city centre,” Alexandre Brahier, spokesman for the Geneva police, told the 20 Minutes news portal. 

The convoy was headed to a camping site in Martigny, in the canton of Valais, where 46 places are reserved for caravans from the traveller community.

The Geneva police 'escorted' the convoy to the cantonal limit. From there, Vaud and Valais brigades took charge of supervising the convoy on their respective territories.

The trip took three hours.

The case of the wayward convoy “is being analysed” by the Federal Customs Administration (AFD), said its spokesperson Donatella Del Vecchio.

In the meantime, the travellers “have received the health and legal information applicable in the fight against the pandemic”, according to Stève Léger, the spokesman for the Valais police.

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