ITALY: Far-right activists assault journalists covering neo-fascist anniversary rally

(Map Media Freedom)

7 January 2019 – Members of neo-fascist groups assaulted a reporter and a photographer who was covering a rally in Rome marking the 41st anniversary of the killings of three members of the youth section of the far-right Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI). These became known as the Acca Larentia killings, after the street in which they took place.

Journalist Federico Marconi and news photographer Paolo Marchetti from the magazine L’Espresso told daily La Repubblica how they were surrounded by dozens of far-right activists, who demanded that they delete the pictures they had taken of the event. When they refused to comply, the activists began to shove them, slapping them in the face and kicking them.

“We were really scared. They surrounded us, there was no way to escape,” Marconi said. He told the paper that the neo-fascists then seized the journalists’ mobile phones and a memory card containing the photographs. The two eventually managed to leave the scene after the police intervened.

The violent act drew condemnation from journalists’ trade unions and leading politicians. The Journalists’ Order and National Press Federation said: “these are actions that should not be tolerated in a country purporting to be civilised”.

Matteo Salvini, Interior Minister and leader of the right-wing League party, said: “jail is the right place for those who assault others”. Graziano del Rio, a leading MP of the left-wing Democratic Party, called on Salvini to “act immediately to block any violent revival of the past”