Calls multiplied on Monday in Italy for the ultra-right group Forza Nuova to be banned, after it was implicated in violent demonstrations against the COVID-19 health pass in Rome at the weekend.
Several hundred people clashed with police in central Rome on Saturday evening, damaging the headquarters of the country’s main trade union confederation, the CGIL, and other property.
The assault came after a protest against the health pass, due to become compulsory in all workplaces from October 15. Forza Nuova officials were among those arrested.
On Monday, political figures from all sides condemned the violence. The centre-left Democratic Party (PD) and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), both members of the ruling coalition, signed a motion in parliament calling for Fuorza Nuova’s dissolution.
At the same time, the movement’s website was closed by the courts in connection with an investigation for “incitement to violence”.
For PD chief Enrico Letta, a former prime minister, Saturday’s events are comparable to the storming of the US Capitol in Washington by supporters of Donald Trump.
“Neo-fascist groups have tried to use the delicate situation (the pandemic) to engage in acts of insurgency. It is neither more nor less than what happened in the United States on January 6,” he said.
Forza Nuova is an ultra-right neo-fascist party created in 1997 whose programme includes banning abortion, halting immigration, and repealing laws punishing incitement to hatred. for political, racial or religious reasons.
Its current leader, Roberto Fiore, 62, father of eleven children, was convicted in the 1980s of subversion and of founding an armed political movement of the far right.
In the various elections in which he has stood, either alone or in coalition with other ultra-right groups, he never won more than 0.5% of the vote.
At a national level, far-right parties lead in the polls, in particular Matteo Salvini’s League Party and the Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) under Giorgia Meloni.
Salvini said on Monday that the League would not sign the parliamentary motion, while for Giorgia Meloni the government already has the necessary powers to dissolve the targeted groups.