Calls rise in Italy to ban pro-fascism groups after rampage

Left-leaning Italian lawmakers and politicians call for measures to outlaw pro-fascism groups, a day after anti-vaccine protesters, incited by leaders of the extreme right, stormed a union office in Rome in an assault that evoked comparisons to the January 2021 storming of the US Capitol in Washington.

Twelve protesters were either detained or arrested, authorities say, including Giuliano Castellino, leader of the extreme-right political party Forza Nuova. Some 10,000 demonstrators had turned out Saturday afternoon to express outrage at a government-imposed requirement that workers must certify they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, recovered from the illness in recent months or recently tested negative in order to access workplaces. The requirement takes effect on October 15.

Cries of “Giuliano, Giuliano!” rose from the crowd Saturday. Castellino, who, due to past violence, has been banned from demonstrations in Rome, was allegedly one of the Forza Nuova proponents who exhorted supporters to storm the national headquarters of the CGIL labor confederation.

Scores of demonstrators used sticks, metal bars and rolled-up Italian flags to force their way inside. Rooms were trashed, with furniture overturned.

Later, hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police as they tried to reach the square outside Chigi Palace, home to the premier’s office and practically adjacent to the Italian parliament.

“The assault on CGIL headquarters and the attempt to repeat that at Chigi Palace leaves one shocked and recalls the devastating break-in at the Capitol” in Washington, writes l’eco del, a southern Italian news website.

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