Milan counter-demonstrators protest ultra-rightwing rally

Ruth Ellen Gruber

ROME (JTA) – Hundreds of people took part in a counter-demonstration in central Milan to protest an ultra-rightwing rally held in another downtown location.

The two demonstrations Saturday took place about two miles apart, and no incidents were reported. Local media said the counter-demonstrators greatly outnumbered those at the far-right rally organized by the Forza Nuova movement.

The decision by Milan police authorities to allow the ultra-right rally had drawn protests from Jewish and other groups, and Milan’s mayor had unsuccessfully tried to block it. At that rally, Forza Nuova supporters, including skinheads, waved banners and shouted nationalistic, anti-immigrant and other slogans, including calls for a Europe that is “Christian, never Muslim.”

The counter-demonstration was organized by the National Association of Italian Partisans   and supported by other anti-fascist groups. Milan’s deputy mayor and other political figures took part.

Jewish activist Emanuele Fiano, the son of an Auschwitz survivor and a member of Parliament for the leftist Democratic Party, was quoted by local media as warning against racism fomented by extreme rightwing movements in Europe. “It is important that none of us remain silent about the resurgence of the ideologies that are present also in the Italian extreme right movements.” he said.