Outrage over Nazi salutes at memorial event in Rome (VIDEO)
Hundreds of neo-fascist activists performed Nazi salutes during a ceremony in Rome, sparking outrage across the country.
On Sunday evening, people gathered outside the former headquarters of the now-defunct Italian Social Movement (MSI) party to commemorate the 46th anniversary of the death of three teenage activists.
The black-clad attendees extended their right hands and chanted “present” three times. They then shouted “For all fallen comrades!”
Known locally as the Roman salute, the gesture is closely associated with the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, who aligned Italy with Nazi Germany during World War II.
“The Roman salute is an unacceptable insult and outrage, particularly to the memory of all the victims of Nazi-fascism,” Victor Fadlun, the president of the Jewish community of Rome, wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
“For us – the Jews in Rome – that gesture, because of its symbolic value, is like rubbing salt into our wounds,” Fadlun added. “It is nonsense to believe that it can be an appropriate tribute.”
The ceremony was swiftly condemned by multiple politicians, with a vice president of the Chamber of Deputies, Sergio Costa, promising to request the Prosecutor’s Office to check whether “any crimes have been committed during the commemoration, including the advocacy of fascism.”
Opposition parties demanded that Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni publicly denounce the incident. Meloni has been dogged by accusations of sympathies for the far-right, given that her party – Brothers of Italy (FdI) – was co-founded by a group that was the successor to the MSI. Meloni has denied any ties to fascism.
Fabio Rampelli, another vice president of the Chamber of Deputies and senior FdI member, said his party is “light years away” from far-right activists. “The FdI has nothing to do with it, we don’t take part in that type of demonstrations,” he said, according to news agency ANSA.
Deputy Prime Minister Antonio Tajani said the displays of the fascist salute must be “condemned by everyone,” and that “according to the law, one cannot make apologies for fascism in our country.”
The rally marked the anniversary of the Acca Larentia killings, when two young members of a neo-fascist militia were ambushed and killed by a left-wing group in 1978. The murder sparked clashes with police, which led to the death of a third neo-fascist activist.