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Controversy over fascism remarks clouds Liberation Day events


Italian Liberation Day celebrated on April 25 is a national holiday in Italy that commemorates the victory of the Italian resistance movement against Nazi Germany and the Italian Social Republic. Both were puppet states of the Nazis and a rogue state of the fascists in the Italian Civil War, fought in Italy during World War II. That is distinct from Republic Day on June 2 which normally brings Italians together and is marked with parades. But for the first time since World War II, Italy is led by a party whose origins lie in the country’s post-fascist past.

Senate Speaker Ignazio La Russa has recently been quoted as saying: “There is no reference to anti-fascism in the Italian constitution.”

This year’s commemorations have been riddled with controversy. Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who once belonged to the post-war Fascist party, doubled down on her remark made during her very first speech as the nation’s fi rst female PM, “Mussolini’s racial laws were the worst moment in Italian history.”

Others taking part in this year’s Italian Liberation Day commemoration in Rome included a collector of fascist memorabilia, Senate Speaker Ignazio La Russa, who holds Italy’s second-highest office of state.

He has recently been quoted as saying: “There is no reference to anti-fascism in the Italian constitution.”

His comments sparked a barrage of criticism from the center-left and calls for him to resign. Democratic Party leader Elly Schlein reacted by insisting that “anti-fascism is our constitution.”

The furor was not the first time that La Russa’s links to Italy’s fascist past had caused controversy.

He was filmed in 2018 escorting reporters around his house, showing busts and mini statues of Benito Mussolini, along with fascist memorabilia. He recently said he would never get rid of his Mussolini bust, because it was a gift from his father.

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