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A town in Switzerland is being likened to apartheid-era South Africa, after the local mayor drew up plans to ban asylum-seekers from some public places.

A new centre to house migrants has been opened in Bremgarten, 20 kilometres west of Zurich.

The proposals would see the newcomers kept away from a sports centre, the swimming pool and areas around schools, in order to preserve the peace in the town of 6,500 residents, according to the mayor, Raymond Tellenbach.

“We wanted these restrictions in order to prevent tension with residents, especially with students. It’s for their security. We want to be sure that they are not molested,” said Tellenbach.

The idea of keeping the 150 asylum-seekers living at the centre away from certain areas has drawn criticism from politicians from a wide range of parties.

“This reminds me of apartheid. This leads to two classes of citizens – those who can go everywhere and those who cannot, only because of their residence status,” said Socialist MP Silvia Schenker

Switzerland is dealing with another public relations disaster after Oprah Winfrey accused a shop assistant in Zurich of being racist.

The American media icon, who is one of the world’s richest women, claims the shop assistant refused to show her a handbag which cost more than 26,000 euros.

The shop-owner says the incident was a misunderstanding.

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