Mussolini supporters march in Italy as Minister Meloni shuts down rave | Italy

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Politicians from Italy’s left-wing Democratic Party said they would ask questions in parliament after more than 2,000 supporters of Benito Mussolini converged on the fascist dictator’s hometown over the weekend, with Giorgia Meloni’s government having been criticized for instead focusing on shutting down an illegal rave.

Fascist sympathizers from across Italy waved with stiff arms while expressing their support for Meloni – whose party, Brothers of Italy, has neo-fascist roots – as they gathered in Predappio, the town of Emilia- Romagna where Mussolini was born and buried, to mark the 100th anniversary of his march on Rome, the event that launched Italy’s fascist era.

The city’s events organized by the descendants of Mussolini and the neofascist group Arditi d’Italia began on Friday, the anniversary of the start of Milan’s march towards Rome before seizing power two days later, and ended on Sunday with a walk to the Mussolini family crypt in San Cassiano Cemetery.

But Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Piantedosi, focused on another gathering in the same province – an unauthorized rave at an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of Modena. On Sunday, he ordered the eviction of more than 3,000 people from the Witchtrek 2K22 Halloween event, a three-day party that was due to end on Tuesday.

The police shut down a rave in Modena. Photography: Elisabetta Baracchi/EPA

Andrea Orlando, a Democratic Party politician and former justice minister, suggested the government should have focused more on the fascist “rave” in Predappio, which he said was “in my opinion…much more disturbing.” He asked, “Was it legal?

Displays of fascist sympathy are prohibited by Italian law, which also prohibits the reconstitution of fascist parties. Sandra Zampa, a senator from the Democratic Party, said she would raise the issue of Predappio in parliament.

“They marched calmly and cheerfully,” she said. “Do Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi have nothing to say about this? Is there no repentance for the violation of the legislation which prohibits the reconstitution of the fascist party and the apology of the regime?

Hardening the raves was a flagship campaign policy of Meloni’s Brothers of Italy and its far-right coalition partner, the League, led by Matteo Salvini, now deputy prime minister.

The two leaders have regularly accused the last interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese, of taking a soft approach to raves, including a six-day event in August last year which Meloni said was filled with “drugs and alcohol”.

A woman holds a flag with an image of Mussolini at Predappio
A woman in Predappio holds a flag with an image of Mussolini. Photography: Francesca Volpi/Getty Images

In her first speech to parliament as prime minister last week, she said Italy was “not a country for young people” and described a “growing emergency of deviance, made up of drugs, alcohol and crime” which his government planned to combat by getting young people engaged in cultural and sporting activities.

Salvini, who was interior minister in 2018-19, criticized his left-wing opponents for their defense of illegal raves and their concerns about what he called “the return of legality”. “Are we joking aside?” Salvini wrote on Twitter, praising Piantedosi’s hard line against parties and “the dominating thugs”.

Meloni, who in the past has praised Mussolini, told parliament last week that she had never had any sympathy for any type of regime, while denouncing Mussolini’s anti-Jewish laws as the ” lowest point” of Italy.

Ahead of the general election in late September, Meloni presented the Brotherhood of Italy as a conservative and moderate right-wing force, but refused calls to remove the neo-fascist symbol of the tricolor flame from the party logo. The symbol also appears on Mussolini’s tomb.

Mirco Santarelli, the president of the Ravenna unit of Arditi d’Italia, which organized the march in Predappio on Sunday, told La Stampa: “If Meloni got rid of the flame symbol, we wouldn’t vote for her anymore. . She has already distanced herself from Nazi-fascism, because she understood that she had to do so. It would be like a judge asking me if I’m a fascist, I’d say no, or I’d be in trouble.

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