At 1:30 a.m., Antonio da Costa heard a knock at the back entrance of the McDonald’s restaurant where he worked as a janitor after-hours.
He opened the door, he recalled in an interview. There stood two men, each gripping a chain saw. One yanked the cord on his saw, stepped toward da Costa and shouted above the roaring machine: “We don’t need Africans in our country. We’re here to kill you!”
The two masked assailants cornered da Costa and began raking him with the whirring chain-saw blades. They slashed one arm to the bone, nearly sliced off his left thumb and hacked his face, neck and chest, the 37-year-old Angolan said, his voice quavering as he recounted the May 1 attack.
The gruesome assault in a suburb of Zurich — consistently ranked in international surveys as one of the world’s most livable cities — dramatized the surge in racism and xenophobia as Switzerland confronts its most difficult social transformation in modern times. Today, more than one in five people living in Switzerland are foreign-born, the second-highest percentage among countries in Europe. [complete article]