Wave of fascist incidents hits Italy on anniversary of liberation from fascism

‘We are facing an escalation of neo-fascist provocations’

Alessio Perrone
Friday 26 April 2019 14:55
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A series of neo-fascist incidents have hit Italy as the country celebrated the liberation from fascism.

Between Wednesday and Thursday, Italian media documented neo-fascist demonstrations, desecrations of memorials of participants of the Italian resistance against fascism, and drawings of swastikas across the country.

Each year, Italy celebrates the liberation from fascism on 25 April.

On Wednesday 24 April, some 30 people held a banner reading “Honour to Benito Mussolini” while performing fascist salutes in Milan.

A day later, a garland commemorating a partisan who fought fascism in WW2 was burned down in Milan. Other memorials were desecrated across the country.

Far-right activists in Rome also on Thursday rallied holding a banner reading “No more antifascism”, La Repubblica newspaper reported, while waving flags of the Italian Social Republic, a German puppet state created in northern Italy toward the end of World War II.

“We are facing an escalation of neo-fascist provocations,” Roberto Cenati toldThe Independent.

Mr Cenati is the head of the Milan branch of the National Association of Italian Partisans (ANPI), an organisation founded by participants of the Italian resistance against fascism.

Cenati said that similar episodes are not new.

“What is new is how easy it has been for some football hooligans to exhibit a banner celebrating Mussolini,” he added.

The incident happened ahead of a football game on Wednesday near Milan’s Piazzale Loreto, where Mussolini’s corpse was hung upside down in 1945.

Cenati says ANPI has requested that the government shuts down neo-fascist organisations, but that “There is no political will to do it. Political will was missing in the past, and it’s missing now.”

Italian law bans the reorganisation of the fascist party, but several neo-fascist organisations are active in the country.

The Italian government condemned the Milan episode but has not yet publicly condemned the Thursday incidents.

“We do not tolerate any form of physical or verbal violence,” said Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Interior Minister and leader of the right-wing populist party League, calling the culprits “idiots”.

The anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which is in a government coalition with League, also condemned the incident.

But Salvini drew criticism after neither he nor any Minister from the League chose to attend the national celebrations.

Salvini has repeatedly criticised the event in the past, calling it “a derby between fascists and communists”.

The League, which supports radical right-wing and anti-immigration policies, formed a government coalition with the Five Star Movement in June 2018, after it won about 17 percent of the vote in a general election. It now has some 35 percent according to recent polls.

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