ITALY: Calls to ban neo-fascist groups after a violent attack against trade union

During a violent anti-Covid-19 certificate protest held in Rome on 9 October, several members of the radical far-right party Forza Nuova (FN), among other neo-fascist groups, attacked the headquarters of Italy’s largest trade union, the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL). Besides trashing the CGIL’s premises, neo-fascist militants attacked also a hospital emergency room. 

The no-health pass rally on 9 October, then, left 38 police officers injured, while 12 protesters were arrested – including the leaders of FN. The party, which does not allow people vaccinated against Covid-19 to join, has infiltrated violent anti-vaccine and anti-mask protests since the early days of lockdown

As a reaction, on 16 October, tens of thousands of people marched through the streets of Rome to protest fascism, on the initiative of CGIL and other two major trade unions, CISL and UIL. Citizens, activists and members of trade unions gathered under the banner “No more fascisms” (“Mai più fascismi”). 

The organisers of the rally reported that more than 100,000 people attended, coming from all over the country. 

Since the attack against CGIL, in fact, many CSOs have been calling for the ban of the violent neo-fascist movements that took part in it. According to Italian law, the Ministry of Interior could dissolve Forza Nuova, if a court found that it was a fascist party, or the government could dissolve the movement as an urgent measure.  

Expressing their solidarity with CGIL, Arci said the trade union “is heritage of Italian democracy” and “the assault that took place is a disgrace that harks back to the darkest times in our history”, referring to violence perpetrated by fascist squads against trade unions in Mussolini’s time.  

In a statement published on its website on 10 October to declare the will to take part in the “No more fascisms” rally, Arci added that: 

“We have been repeating in a loud voice, for years, that fascist organisations must be disbanded in accordance with the law. Instead, for months they have continued to lead the “no vax” demonstrations undisturbed. Today, more than ever, we demand that democratic institutions should no longer be careless and tolerant towards organisations based on principles that have been repudiated and expelled from our history and our Constitution. It is a legal obligation, and also an essential political act, to guarantee full democratic agility and civic space in these difficult times.” 

On 11 October, the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Rome ordered the blocking of FN’s website, which was immediately enforced by the Postal Police.