October 28 is a symbolic date for the rights of the world and especially for the Italian. That day, in 1922, the March of the Fascists arrived in Rome, putting pressure on King Victor Emanuel III to make Benito Mussolini Prime Minister. They succeeded three days later, with which the fascist dictatorship was inaugurated. On this centenary, some two hundred far-rightists marched through Rome and others queued in Predappio, Emilia Romagna, northwest of the capital, to visit the dictator’s tomb.
This Friday’s demonstration in Rome, to celebrate that event, was organized through social media by the existing Facebook group “Marcia su Roma” and by Casapound, both pro-fascists. The idea was to go with all the people to the Chigi Palace, seat of the presidency of the Council of Ministers, and to the square in front of the Chamber of Deputies. But the march had not requested the authorization that, according to the regulations, it is necessary to request from the competent authorities and that caused the police and the police to stop it in Piazza Venezia, where Via del Corso begins, which leads to the Chigi Palace and the Parliament, and there the protesters sat. The police identified and denounced at least 70 people not only for not having requested any authorization to carry out the march, but also because most of them did not wear a mask, which is still recommended to protect themselves from covid, especially when it comes to people who come from other regions of Italy.
Apparently the demonstrators made no direct reference to Mussolini, although they chose, not coincidentally, October 28 to make this march. “We are here because we are desperate,” some said. And others shouted “freedom, freedom” also saying that they did not have a job and that they have not had a salary for months. “The government has betrayed us,” they insisted in a clear reference to the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who this week gave way to the new right-wing Prime Minister Georgia Meloni of Fratelli d’Italia. Meloni and her right-wing allies, Matteo Salvini’s La Liga and Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, won last September’s elections.
Demonstrations were also held in Milan (northern Italy), the economic heart of the peninsula, and in other Italian cities. But apparently the same problem always arose in all of them: they were not authorized and did not respect anti-covid safety regulations when the number of infections is increasing in Italy and will continue to grow according to expert forecasts, now that winter is approaching. “Not wearing a mask during a demonstration and not respecting the safety distance between people, as they have done in Milan and Rome, is an attitude of contempt towards all the victims of the coronavirus,” said the former president of the Chamber of Deputies. Laura Boldrini.
In Predappio, the city where Mussolini was born and where he is buried, anti-fascist and anti-fascist demonstrations of the ANPI (National Association of Partisans of Italy) are expected. Some on the 28th, others on the 30th of October. The ANPI of Predappio celebrated on Friday 28 the day of the city’s liberation from fascism, on October 28, 1944, a few months before the end of World War II.
The march of the philo-fascists, whom many call the “nostalgics”, reached the San Cassiano cemetery in Predappio, where the Mussolini family crypt is located. According to Domenico Morosini, head of the Museum of Memories that is in the Villa Carpena of San Martino in Strada (always Lombardy region like Milan), the house where the dictator lived, between 3,000 and 5,000 people would be present, from all over Italy but also foreign.
In Predappio there are several shops that sell Mussolini souvenirs. Busts of Mussolini, cotton jackets, caps, key chains, always of course with symbols of fascism. There are even bottles of a local wine with black labels and the image of the Duce, as Mussolini was called. But those businesses closed their doors at a certain point of the day due to the ANPI demonstration.
Meanwhile the queue to visit Mussolini’s tomb was getting longer and longer and there were those who wore black shirts. “Black shirts” was the way in which the fascists who always dressed in black were called. And those waiting in line were not only Italians but also French, German and Spanish, possibly Francoists since Franco had many points in common with Mussolini.
In other cities such as La Spezia, the fascists painted various walls in the city, as some photos from security cameras in the area showed. While in Rome, precisely on a bridge in front of the Colosseum, both fascists and anti-fascists hung their posters. The anti-fascists had written: “28-X-2022, we know how it will end” with Mussolini’s photo turned upside down. In the poster of the fascists, the image of the Duce was correctly placed and accompanied by the phrase: “100 years later, the march continues” with the emblem of the National Movement, an extreme right-wing group.
At La Sapienza University in Rome, students have occupied the buildings since yesterday and were repressed with some violence by the police. But they insisted on saying that their demonstrations will start on November 4 because they want an anti-fascist, anti-capitalist, environmentalist and anti-racist university, among other things.
In Perugia (central Italy) the Anpi partisans met to remember what that march, which started from that city, produced in the country. “Whoever forgets is an accomplice. We are here after a hundred years, to say that we must pay attention and not be indifferent”, they said.