On Monday, opposition parties in Italy demanded that extreme-right organisations be dissolved following the emergence of a video showing hundreds of men engaging in fascist salutes during a demonstration in Rome.
The gathering took place on Sunday in front of the old offices of the MSI group, a neo-fascist organisation that later changed its name to the conservative Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia). The current prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, was one of its founding members.
Sunday’s rally commemorated the killing of three neo-fascists in southeast Rome's Via Acca Larentia 46 years prior. Suspected far-left militants shot and killed two of the men, while police killed the third after a riot broke out. Regarding the fatalities, no one was ever found guilty.
A common slogan at neo-fascist gatherings, "For all fallen comrades!" was heard over the three shouts of "present" and accompanied by stiff-armed salutes by a group of men.
"This is an unacceptable disgrace in a European democracy," stated Carlo Calenda, the leader of the moderate Action party.
Commemorations of the Acca Larentia killings are an annual event, but this year opposition parties insisted that such expressions of pro-fascist attitude were illegal and called for an inquiry.
Democratic Party leader Elly Schlein remarked, "It looks like 1924," referring to the year that fascist leader Benito Mussolini won a landslide election before severing ties with multi-party politics in Italy.
"What happened is unacceptable. Neo-fascist groups must be disbanded, as the constitution spells out," she continued.
Italy's post-war constitution prohibits the reorganisation of Mussolini's disbanded Fascist party. Yet extreme right parties have found ways to get around this, renaming their organisations and re-inventing themselves as something new.
In the wake of the neo-fascist demonstration, Brothers of Italy remained silent. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, the head of the more moderate Forza Italia party, declared that any glorification of dictatorship ought to be denounced.
"There is a law stating that you cannot make an apology of fascism in our country," he stated.
“To see this staging happening authorised, protected, and facilitated by institutions is frightening” writes Robert Saviano, one of the most famous Italian journalists on X.
Sunday’s rally raises questions about Meloni’s statement from 2021 that there is "no space" in her party for "nostalgia for fascism, racism, or antisemitism.” being actually true.
Edited by Tatyana Kekic
Image - ALESSANDRO DI MEO / EPA/MAXPPP
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