Rome: Italian police on Sunday arrested leaders and other members of the far-right party Forza Nuova after protests turned violent in Rome, with many calling for the group to be banned.
Hundreds gathered on Saturday to demonstrate against anti-coronavirus measures in central Rome, clashing with police and wrecked premises, including the headquarters of the CGIL trade union federation.
Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the crowd during several hours of unrest.
Italian media reported that among the 12 arrested were Roberto Fiore, Forza Nuova’s national secretary, and Giuliano Castellino, the head of the movement in Rome.
MP Federico Fornaro said, “The people behind the attack on the CGIL headquarters were immediately arrested. They had been inciting tension and violence for a very long time.”
“Fascist violence must be stopped immediately,” said Senator Andrea Marcucci.
Formed in 1997, the neo-fascist party Forza Nuova called for a ban on abortion, a full stop on immigration and the repeal of hate speech laws.
It never achieved a score of 0.5 percent in any election, even when affiliated with other far-right groups.
Most centrist and left-leaning politicians have now called for its ban.
“We have witnessed a lot of violence by neo-fascist groups. We will bring an urgent resolution before parliament tomorrow, calling on the government to dissolve Forza Nuova,” said Democratic Party (PD) chief parliamentarian Emanuele Fiano.
Several other MPs and members of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government supported the move.
Speaking outside the ruined headquarters of the union body, CGIL chief Maurizio Landini called for a ban on Forza Nuova and announced an anti-fascist demonstration on Saturday 16 October.
“They can’t scare us, they don’t scare us,” he told the crowd gathered to support CGIL after the violence.