Anti-fascist protesters clash with police in Bologna, Italy (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

© nicholasloreti
Police have clashed with dozens of demonstrators in Bologna protesting the visit of the leader of the anti-immigration Northern League party. Officers in riot gear deployed force against the activists, who pelted them with eggs and vegetables.

A cordon of police officers used riot shields and batons to push back the angry crowd on Thursday.

Various leftist groups in Bologna decry the Northern League’s (Lega Nord) views on immigration, and brand them fascists who are not welcome in the city.

Following the clashes the leader of the Northern League, Matteo Salvini, condemned the rally.

“It is not possible that every time this city is held hostage by a handful of criminals who clash with police, throwing objects… It is a crime and as such should be punished,” he said, as cited by il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper.

The right-wing Northern League stands against immigration and ‘Islamization’, and has repeatedly gained public attention through its actions and comments.

A similar protest against Salvini took place in Bologna in November last year. At least one protester was injured during the scuffles on that occasion.

In April 2015 the party backed the Italian state of Lombardy’s decision to refuse accommodation for migrants. At that time, the president of Lombardy and founder of Northern League said: “we don’t want an invasion.”

In October 2014 the party’s supporters gathered in the city of Milan to rally against illegal immigration and the Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) operation – a special search and rescue program launched in Italy to save migrants lost at sea.