(ANSA) – Rome, December 6 – Members of the far-right Forza Nuova (FN) group lit flares outside the Rome HQ of liberal daily La Repubblica Wednesday and threw a couple at staff, showing an FN flag and a placard saying “Boycott La Repubblica and (sister weekly) l’Espresso”. FN said it was the first stage of a “war” on La Repubblica and the ruling centre-left Democratic Party (PD).
La Repubblica tweeted: “Fascism, Forza Nuova expedition under the La Repubblica HQ: masked militants throw flares”. The protesters read out a series of accusations against La Repubblica and l’Espresso.
One FN member was arrested after the incident and “his position is being weighed,” police said. The Green Party was among the first to voice solidarity with La Repubblica over the incident.
Premier Paolo Gentiloni, a prominent PD member, phoned La Repubblica editor Mario Calabresi to voice his solidarity.
Senate Speaker Pietro Grasso called the incident “a serious Fascist attack”.
Justice Minister Andrea Orlando, also of the PD, said “this incident gives the lie to all those who deemed that the attention given to this issue was excessive”.
He said “there is an extremism which has reared its head, which is contrary to Constitutional values, and to our freedoms, and I think the Italian State and society must affirm those values on which our Constitution is based.
Interior Minister Marco Minniti, another top PD member, said the incident was “a criminal and unacceptable act”.
“You can’t be an organised group that declares war on ideas,” he said.
PD leader and ex-premier Matteo Renzi tweeted: “My solidarity and that of the PD to La Repubblica and its journalists. They don’t scare us. That past will not return #forward”.
Roberto Speranza of the Free and Equal group said the incident was “unacceptable”.
Undeterred, FN wrote on Facebook that the “assault” was “a declaration of war against the l’Espresso group” while its leader Roberto Fiore said it was also “the first act of war against the PD”.
“Wretches, we won’t give you any let-up”, said FN, saying they represented “all Italians betrayed by those who favour ius soli, invasion and ethnic replacement”.