Swiss authorities rename Paul Kruger Street

Sat May 23, 2009 8:02pm EDT

ZURICH (Reuters) - A street in the Swiss town of St. Gallen, which for more than a hundred years bore the name of former South African president Paul Kruger, was renamed by local authorities on Sunday.

Theo Buff from the town's planning department told Reuters the name was being changed "because of racist associations".

Kruger, who led the Boer resistance against the British during the Second Boer War of 1899 to 1902, lived in St. Gallen after escaping Africa when the British advanced on Pretoria.

"In the context of the time, naming a street after Paul Krueger can be understood," the St. Gallen town council said in a statement, "but today it can no longer be justified."

Buff said that a number of left-wing groups had criticized the street name.

The street will now be called Duerrenmatt street, after Swiss author and dramatist Friedrich Duerrenmatt.

(Reporting by Josie Cox and Andrew Thompson in Zurich; editing by Myra MacDonald)