Tens of thousands of union members and other Italians gathered in Rome to stand up against rising fascism, a week after right-wing extremists forced their way into the headquarters of Italy’s most powerful labour confederation while protesting against a Covid-19 certification requirement for workplaces.
The head of the CGIL union confederation, Maurizio Landini, led the protest with other labour leaders under the slogan: “Never again fascism.”
Organisers put the crowd assembled in front of St John Lateran basilica for the protest at 100,000-strong,
Some participants waved flags reading “Si Vax”, a direct retort to the protesters armed with sticks and metal bars who trashed CGIL’s Rome headquarters on October 9.
They were protesting against a government requirement, which took effect on Friday, mandating proof of vaccination, a negative test within 48 hours or proof of having recovered from Covid-19 to access places of employment.
Mr Landini, CGIL’s secretary general, has compared the assault on the union headquarters to 1921 attacks by the newly founded Fascist party against union organisers.
Fascist leader Benito Mussolini came to power the next year and later brought Italy into the Second World War as an ally of Nazi Germany.
Mr Landini said Saturday’s event was intended as “a demonstration that defends democracy for everyone.
“This is the topic.”
The head of the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CISL) trade union, Luigi Sbarra, said an attack against unions led by the far-right Forza Nuova party “made the only choice to be here, united against all types of fascism”.
He called for the swift dissolution of the party by Italian authorities.