ROME — Venice’s mayor said Wednesday police were investigating an attack with possible anti-Semitic characteristics in which youths punched a left-wing Italian politician in the city’s St. Mark’s Square.
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted Wednesday that fascist-like incidents like the one that happened on New Year’s Eve “won’t be tolerated” in Venice.
Arturo Scotto, a former lawmaker, was walking with his wife Tuesday night when eight youths yelled out, “Duce! Duce!” a reference to Italy’s World War II fascist leader Benito Mussolini. The youths then punched Scotto in the nose.
Scotto told Italian state TV that a young man who tried to help him was also beaten up. He said the youths also shouted disparaging remarks about Anne Frank, a young Jewish woman who perished in a Nazi death camp.
Brugnaro said police are examining surveillance videos to see if the culprits can be identified. Scotto said the attackers wore scarves to hide their faces.
Hate crimes have been on the rise in Italy, as far-right political groups, including those with neo-fascist roots, gain traction in the country.
The head of Rome’s Jewish community, Ruth Dureghello, expressed solidarity with Scotto, saying “one mustn’t give in to any form of anti-Semitism and racism.”