More Than 10,000 People March In Italy’s Como To Protest Against Rising Fascism In The Country

On Saturday, thousands of people gathered in Como, Italy, to protest against increasing incidents of fascism in the country. The rally was organized by an alliance of left-wing parties and was attended by more than 10,000 people, including Italy’s former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

“Today in Como is an important day. There are more than 10,000 of us taking part in this demonstration against all forms of fascism and intolerance,” said Maurizo Martina, deputy secretary of Italy’s center-left Democratic Party. Martina warned the public about the “danger of underestimating” the far-right violence in the country.

The demonstration was shunned by two political parties—Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party and opposition Five-Star Movement, according to the Local.

In the past few days, rising incidents of intolerance and anti-immigration protests by far-right groups have worried the leaders of left-wing parties. Last week, some activists of Veneto Fronte Skinheads Front, a far-right organization, barged into a charity meeting that was being held in Como to discuss migrant issues, according to the Deutsche Welle. Members of Veneto Fronte raised slogans against the “invasion” of migrants in the country. A few days later, some masked activists of another neo-fascist group named Forza Nuova (New Force) attacked the offices of the liberal daily La Repubblica and L’Espresso weekly in Rome, demanding a boycott of these publications.

More than 114,000 migrants have arrived in Italy so far in 2017, according to the Local. Opposition parties blame the government for being too sympathetic and accommodating toward illegal immigrants arriving in the country.

After the end of the World War II, Italy adopted a new constitution, barring the return of fascist forces in the country. For decades, Italy seemed an outlier while nationalist forces gained support across Europe. Political experts now fear Italy has started to catch up with its peers in Europe, with anti-immigration sentiments rising in the country. Last month, a candidate of neo-fascist party CasaPound surprised political experts by winning a seat in the municipal council of the Roman suburb of Ostia.

On Saturday, authorities in Como declined to give permission to Forza Nuova to hold a counter-rally in the town. Later, some leaders and members of the group gathered at a hotel in Coma, accusing L’Espresso and Repubblica of promoting a “climate of hate” against their party.

Laura Boldrini, Chamber of Deputies President, cited the constitution in Como’s rally to remind that it was the “duty of all democratic forces, of civil society, of citizens” to oppose fascism in Italy.