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Italian far-right group’s leaders held after clashes, attack on trade union HQ

Published: Updated:

Italian police on Sunday arrested leaders and other members of far-right party Forza Nuova after a protest in Rome turned violent, with many calling for the group to be banned.

Hundreds of people gathered to demonstrate against anti-coronavirus measures in central Rome Saturday, clashing with police and wrecking premises including the headquarters of the CGIL trade union federation.

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Police deployed water cannon and tear gas to disperse crowds over several hours of unrest.

Italian media reported that among 12 people arrested were Roberto Fiore, Forza Nuova’s national secretary, and Giuliano Castellino, the movement’s chief in Rome.

“The people behind the assault on CGIL’s headquarters were quickly arrested. They had been stoking tension and violence for too long,” said MP Federico Fornaro.

“Fascist violence must be stopped immediately,” said senator Andrea Marcucci.

Formed in 1997, neo-fascist party Forza Nuova calls for an abortion ban, a total halt to immigration and the repeal of hate speech laws.

It has never achieved a score of even 0.5 percent at any election, even when allied with other far-right groups.

Mostly centrist and left-leaning politicians have now called for it to be banned.

“We’ve had enough of violence by neo-fascist groups. We will bring an urgent motion before parliament tomorrow calling on the government to dissolve Forza Nuova,” leading Democratic Party (PD) lawmaker Emanuele Fiano said.

A number of other MPs and members of Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government back the move.

Speaking outside the union body’s wrecked headquarters, CGIL chief Maurizio Landini called for Forza Nuova to be banned and announced an anti-fascist demonstration for Saturday October 16.

“They can’t intimidate us, they don’t scare us,” he told a crowd gathered to support CGIL after the violence.

Read more: Thousands, including far-right groups, protest in Rome against COVID-19 health pass