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Neo-fascists exploit no-vax anger, posing a dilemma for Italy

Neo-fascists exploit no-vax anger, posing a dilemma for Italy

An extrem-right group's violent exploitation of anger over Italy' s coronavirus restrictions is causing authorities to wrestle with the country''t fascist legacy and raising fears of a repeat of last week' insurgents trying to force their way to Parliament.

Anyone who works in Italy must have received at least one vaccination dose, recovered from COVID-19 recently, or tested negative within two days, using the countrys green pass to prove their status, starting Friday. Italians already use the card to enter restaurants, theaters, gyms and other indoor entertainment venues, or to board long-distance buses, trains, and domestic flights.

10,000 opponents of that government decree gathered in Romes vast Piazza del Popolo last Saturday in a protest that quickly turned into riots.

Its the mix and overlap of the extreme right and those opposed to Italy s vaccine mandates that is creating worries, even though those against vaccines are still a distinct minority in 'a country where 80 percent of people 12 and older are fully vaccinated.

Incited by the political extreme right at the rally, thousands marched through the italian capital on Saturday, and hundreds marches made their way through CGIL's headquarters. Police officers attempted to break into the offices of Italys premier and the Parliamentary seat but failed repeatedly.

After first trying to break in through a front door with metal bars, then breaking through through an opening, the protesters smashed union computers, ripped out telephone lines, and trashed offices. The green pass has been backed by unions as a means to make it easier for Italian workers to work in safer areas.

Maurizio Landini, the CGIL leader, immediately made comparisons to Benito Mussolinis newly minted Fascists attacks against labor organizers a century ago as he consolidated his tyranny on Italy.

To others who watched the violence unfold, the attack also evoked images of President Donald Trumps Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol by an angry mob as part of protests over President Trump's failed reelection bid.

Ruth Dureghello, the Jewish Community of Rome's president, said, "What we witnessed in the last days was something truly shocking."

Premier Mario Draghi told reporters that his government is reflecting on parliamentary motions introduced or supported by leftist, populist and centrist parties this week urging the government to ban Forza Nuova, the extreme-right party whose leaders encouraged the attack on the union office.

On Monday, the italian telecoms police force shut down Forza Nuovas website for alleged criminal instigation on the orders of Rome prosecutors.

Hours after the CGIL attack, scores of anti-vaccine protesters also invaded a hospital emergency room where stricken demonstrator had been taken, frightening patients and wounding two nurses and three police officers.

Rome will see two more marches this Saturday, one by opponents of the green pass and one designed to show solidarity for CGIL and provide what Landini calls an antidote to violence.

The start of the workplace virus mandate and the twin demonstrations sparked discussion between police and intelligence officials on how to deal with possible violence.

Sunday will also see a runoff mayoral election in Rome between reformed center-left candidate and right-wing candidate chosen by the leader of neo-fascist opposition party.

One co-founder of Forza Nuova and its Rome leader are among the dozen people arrested in Saturday's violence. Also imprisoned were a founder of the now-defunct extreme-right militant group Armed Revolutionary Nuclei, which terrorized Italy in the 1980s, and he and an italian restaurateur who fought oblivion in response to sweeping measures in COVID-19.

Dureghello described the thuggery in Rome as a grave, painful phenomenon, organized by those who want to create chaos on the one hand and orient consensus on one side by relying on prejudice in Italy. In a tweet, she called for an urgent investigation into neo-fascist movements and the network that supports them.

Also troubling Italys tiny Jewish population have been anti-Semitic remarks by a Rome mayoral candidate selected by Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy, Parliament s largest opposition party. Enrico Michetti in 2020 stated that the Holocaust is so well-received because Jews possess banks. He has since apologized for having hurt the feelings of Jews.

Rachele Mussolini, a granddaughter of the dictator, secured the highest number of votes for sacrament in the first round of municipal balloting in Rome.

Meloni has long resisted demands from opponents that she unambiguously denounce Mussolinis fascist rule.

Meloni, speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, disassociated her party from Forza Nuova while criticizing the green pass workplace rule.

We are light-years away from any sort of subversive movement, in particular Forza Nuova, she added. She accused Draghis broad coalition, which was formed earlier this year to lead the country through the epidemic, of pretending not to see that Saturday in the street there were people protesting against not having a government [green] pass and not respecting their right to work.

Antonio Parisella, a retired professor of contemporary Italian history, noted that Meloni lives on ambiguity, she has one foot in the legacy of fascism.

Prevalent in much of Italian society is the idea that Mussolini did good things, such as the common myth that he made trains run on time and eradicated malaria, according to Parisella, who manages Romes Liberation Museum.

Donatella Di Cesare, a Rome university philosophy professor, wrote on the front page of the La Stampa newspaper, The hostility toward the [green] pass, the reluctance to the vaccine, according to her.

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