Italy’s unions rallied last Saturday, calling on the government to ban fascist groups involved in the previous weekend’s violent protests against a Covid health pass.
Some 200,000 people attended the rally in Rome, according to the Il Manifesto newspaper, with 800 coaches and 10 trains laid on.
Some waved flags reading, “Yes Vax.” They were a direct retort to the protesters armed with sticks and metal bars who trashed CGIL’s Rome headquarters on 9 October.
Last week, police arrested 12 people, including leaders of the fascist group Forza Nuova. That was after thousands took to the streets to oppose mandatory “green passes” for all workers.
The response saw placards reading “Fascism—never again” fill Piazza San Giovanni—a square historically associated with the left. Numerous speakers called for a ban on Forza Nuova.
“This is not just a retort to fascist ‘squadrismo,’” CGIL secretary general Maurizio Landini said, using a word used to refer to the fascist militias that began operating after World War I.
“This piazza also represents all those in Italy who want to change the country, who want to close the door on political violence,” he told the crowds.“A country that loses its memory cannot have a future,” he added.
New measures require workers to show proof of vaccination, a negative rapid swab test or recent recovery from Covid-19 before going to workplaces.
Under the new rules, those who do not have a “green pass” must take unpaid leave. Employers will be responsible for verifying the certificates. Workers risk fines of up to 1,500 euros for not complying.
The Rome demonstration concluded with the crowd singing Bella Ciao, the anthem of the anti-fascist resistance for the Italian partisans.
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