Milan, Italy: 30,000 anti-fascist protesters rallied against racism in Italy’s Macerata. Similar rallies were also held in other Italian cities including Piacenza, Milan and Florence. The protests come a week after anti-immigration Lega Nord (Northern League) politician, Twenty eight-year-old Luca Traini – who campaigned for “defense of the white race against migrants” in his failed election bid – shot 6 Africans in a drive-by shooting spree in Macerata.
The protesters walked through the streets of the cities where the rallies were held, shouting “if there’s unemployment, blame the government, not the migrants,” and singing songs like “Bella Ciao,” known as an anti-fascist hymn.
Officials in Macerata, in central Italy, had originally banned the event due to fears of violence involving extreme right-groups, and only authorised it on Friday.
Italians and migrants peacefully carried Italian flags and banners against violence and racism, and flew red, heart-shaped balloons with the names of the victims of the shooting, Nigeria Circle News learnt.
One placard read “fascist Salvini” a reference to Matteo Salvini, the leader of the right-wing Northern League party which campaigns strongly against illegal immigrants.
However, in a sign of widespread and growing anti-migrant sentiment in Italy, none of the leaders of the main parties attended the march.
“We are here because we want to be a dam against this mountain of hate which is spreading continuously, a social hate against migrants and, in general, against the poor,” Francesco Piobbicchi told reporters.
“The political parties are using populism to create hate, terror and division,” said fellow marcher Valentina Giuliodora.
The procession was preceded by the banner “The movements against all fascism and racism”. Different social realities from every part of Italy, but also many maceratesi, who eventually took to the streets. In the parade also the flags of Legambiente, Libera, Arci, Fiom, No Tav, Power to the people, Anpi, Prc. Several demonstrators have a handkerchief or a tricolor flag.
“We put things right,” said a demonstrator, Laura, “with her flag on her shoulders, this is the right place for the Italian flag.” Let’s not leave it to the Italian troops, this flag is ours “.
Participants included MEP Cecile Kyenge , Gino Strada di Emergency, former director of the Unit Sergio Staino , journalist Adriano Sofri , deputy Pippo Civati, the partisan Lidia Menapace , 93 (“As long as I have a voice I’ll be there “ga said) , the founder of Emergency Gino Strada and the conductor Diego Bianchi (Zoro).
“Once again – said Paolo Cognini of the social centers of the Marche – fascism and racism will be beaten by people who have re-appropriated the road”.
The event was supported by the Minister of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda.
“I hope – he says – that it is not a march of hatred, but that I reaffirm the democratic values of this country, if so – he points out – it is important”.
“I hope and believe – adds Calenda – that it will be a march for constitutional and republican values”.
Calenda, despite not participating in the march, said he shares it’s values.
“if it is a march that unites the country around republican values, which we must defend at a time when they are attacked”. “In some ways – he concludes – they are attacked even if not always directly from a part of the political forces and this is unacceptable”.