Status: 11.10.2021 4:58 a.m.

After anti-vaccination rioting, union leaders demand a ban on the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party. Meanwhile, employee representatives protect union houses from attacks.

By Jörg Seisselberg, ARD-Studio Rome

Two of the alleged ringleaders of the riots following an anti-vaccination rally in Rome have been pulled out of circulation by the police. Roberto Fiore, chairman and founder of the neo-fascist party Forza Nuova, and his deputy Giuliano Castellino. Both were arrested. The allegations include serious damage to property, looting and resistance to state power.

Jörg Seisselberg
ARD-Studio Rom

Film recordings, including on state television RAI, show that the two self-confessed neo-fascists were at the forefront when hundreds of anti-vaccination opponents stormed the headquarters of the left-wing CGIL union in Rome on Saturday. Several thousand had previously demonstrated in the Piazza del Popolo against the government’s corona policy. In particular, they protested against the fact that from Friday in Italy the so-called Greenpass will also be required at work, which largely corresponds to the German 3G rule.

Cooperation with the NPD

One of the leaders at the demonstration was Forza Nuova Deputy Chairman Castellino. From the stage he had called to the demonstrators: “The criminals, the extremists, the dangerous are not in this square, but in the palaces of power.”

Forza Nuova was founded in 1997. It is considered the most important neo-fascist party in Italy and works internationally with the German NPD, among others. Forza Nuova had called for a rally against the Corona measures – together with groups of vaccination opponents and restaurateurs who reject Greenpass access restrictions to bars and restaurants.

After the rally, which, according to estimates by the left-wing liberal newspaper “La Repubblica”, attended at least 10,000 people, violent forces tried to move towards the government seat of Palazzo Chigi. The police pushed the rioters back with the help of water cannons, among other things. As a result, some of the violent anti-vaccination and Greenpass opponents, led by the Forza Nuova bosses among others, moved to the headquarters of the CGIL union, where only a few police forces were represented.

“Act of thugs”

Within a short time, several hundred demonstrators stormed the union building, smashed windows, overturned desks, threw files on the floor and destroyed telephones and computers. The spokesman for the restaurateurs association IoApro (“I open”), Biagio Passaro, was among the rioting opponents of the vaccination. He later posted a video of the action on his Facebook page, where he was heard shouting, “Guys, we’re about to go into the CGIL building. IoApro and everyone has stormed the CGIL.”

The union is the target of vaccination opponents in Italy because, after initial hesitation, it supports the government’s green pass regulation, according to which from October 15 only those who have been vaccinated, recovered or tested are allowed to work. CGIL union leader Maurizio Landini is shocked by the wave of violence: “This is the act of thugs, of fascists. It is a wound for democracy and it is an act that wants to do violence to the world of work and its rights. ”

Several workers’ representatives recalled that exactly 100 years ago, Benito Mussolini’s thugs had stormed union houses across the country – a few months before Mussolini took power in Italy in 1922. Union leader Landini called for a ban on the Forza Nuova, and the Social Democrats, who ruled with Mario Draghi, announced that they would submit a corresponding motion in parliament.

Riots in the hospital

Forza Nuova has always received less than 1 percent of the vote in the last elections in Italy. However, representatives of the party have already been involved in violent riots in the past.

After the attacks on the headquarters in Rome, union members organized night vigils in front of numerous union houses in Italy to protect them from attacks. In Rome they sang Bella Ciao, the song from the anti-fascist resistance in Italy during World War II.

Following the storming of the CGIL headquarters by opponents of vaccinations in Rome, there were minor riots in a nearby hospital. According to a hospital spokesman, an injured vaccine opponent resisted having a corona test done on him before treatment. As a result, around 30 supporters rioted, injuring two nurses and two police officers.

Anti-vaccination riot in Rome – Forza Nuova ban called for

Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Rome, 11.10.2021 12:20 a.m.

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