Italian unions mobilize against neo-fascist groups after violent protests

Protesters clash with police officers during a demonstration against the government’s introduction of the “Green Pass” near Palazzo Chigi in Rome, Italy, October 9, 2021. REUTERS / Remo Casilli

ROME, October 16 (Reuters) – Italy’s largest workers’ unions gathered in Rome on Saturday and called on the government to dissolve neofascist groups involved in last weekend’s violent protests against the COVID-19 health pass .

Police arrested 12 people last week, including leaders of the far-right group Forza Nuova, after thousands took to the streets to oppose mandatory ‘green passes’ for all workers .

Some groups crossed police lines to reach the prime minister’s office, while others broke into the headquarters of Italy’s largest union, CGIL.

Many attendees at Saturday’s rally waved the CGIL red flag as they walked from an area near the city’s main train station to the central San Giovanni square on a cool, sunny afternoon.

The main Italian unions CGIL, CISL and UIL all called on the government to dissolve neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups during the rally whose slogan was “No to fascism and violence, yes to work, to security and to rights” .

“We are asking for concrete acts, not just gossip. It is time for the state to demonstrate its democratic strength in the application of the laws and the constitution,” CGIL secretary general Maurizio Landini said from the stage.

“A country that loses its memory cannot have a future,” he added.

Organizers estimated that between 50,000 and 60,000 people participated. ICFTU director Pierpaolo Bombadieri said the turnout reached 100,000 people.

“Stay away from our headquarters, stay away from squares,” Bombardière said, referring to the violent protests last week.

The riots last week were widely condemned, notably by Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni, leaders of the right-wing League and Brothers of Italy parties respectively.

Two Forza Nuova executives remain in detention after a judge’s ruling.

Reporting by Giulia Segreti, additional reporting by Jaime Lopez, editing by Christina Fincher

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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