Italy is a ‘slave of Jewish bankers’

Andrea Zunino, a spokesman for Pitchfork, the movement behind a wave of anti-austerity protests across Italy this week, said the country is a "now a slave of the bankers, like Rothschild" and that "five of the world’s six richest people are Jews".

Italy is a 'slave of Jewish bankers'
Anti-austerity protesters have rallied across Italy over the past week. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

The farmer, from Biella in northern Italy, made the comments during an interview with the daily newspaper, La Repubblica. 

"It's curious and is something I need to figure out,” he added.

Rothschilds is an international banking dynasty that was founded by Mayer Amschel Rothschild in Frankfurt’s Jewish ghetto in the 18th century.

Renzo Gattegna, the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, said the remarks were “delusional”.

Gattegna told Il Sole 24 that the claims “give a sense of unease that becomes even deeper, and recalls, without shame, a period of history characterized by death, violence and denial of the most basic rights.”

Zunino's comments come just days after it was reported that football rivals were using stickers of Holocaust victim Anne Frank, something Rabbi Barbara Aiello told The Local was symptomatic of a rise in anti-Semitism across Europe. READ MORE HERE: Football fans use Anne Frank in anti-Jew attack

In his interview, Zunino also said anti-austerity protesters “want the government to resign” and are calling for the “sovereignty of Italy”.

He also heaped praise on Beppe Grillo, the leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbàn, whose right-wing government has downplayed rising anti-Semitism in the country.

The Pitchfork (Forconi) movement started in Sicily last week among farmers incensed by rising taxes and soon spread to truck drivers, store owners and craftsmen who are increasingly frustrated with reforms demanded by cost-conscious Rome.

On Thursday, protesters blocked main roads between Italy and France. READ MORE HERE. Protesters block Italy-France border

The protests have at times been violent, prompting Italy’s deputy prime minister, Angelino Alfano, to say on Thursday that the rallies could attract “violent groups”.

“While protest is acceptable in a democracy, violence will not be tolerated”, he warned.

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Italy cracks down on Covid green pass protests

After one protest against Italy’s health pass sparked a Covid outbreak and others affected businesses and cultural sites, the government has ordered a clampdown.

Anti-green pass protestors walk past restaurants in Milan.
Anti-green pass protestors walk past restaurants in Milan on October 16th, 2021. Photo: Piero CRUCIATTI/AFP

Protests against Italy’s Covid-19 health certificate, called the ‘green pass’, will be restricted from this weekend under orders from Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese.

New measures will prevent protestors from entering shopping areas or historic centres and mean demonstrations are limited to sit-ins, rather than marches or rallies, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on Tuesday.

EXPLAINED: Where do you now need to show a Covid green pass in Italy?

The ministry stated that the new rules are intended to “guarantee the rights of those who disagree, while protecting economic activity and the health of citizens”.

The rules also allow authorities to require protestors to wear masks at outdoor rallies.

The clampdown follows lobbying from Confcommercio, Italy’s retail confederation, which said the repeated disruption from demonstrations was impacting trade on weekends.

Confcommercio president Carlo Sangalli told Corriere della Sera: “Saturdays alone are worth more than 25 percent of weekly turnover for the retail and restaurant sectors, so the damage caused is very clear. Meanwhile we’re still feeling the consequences of the pandemic and risk a new surge.”

The number of protests against Italy’s health pass has risen in recent weeks following the expansion of the pass requirement to all workplaces.

The demonstrations, which tend to be relatively small but frequent and often disruptive, have now become a regular sight in central Milan, Rome and beyond.

Anti-green pass protestors in Turin’s Piazza Porta Palazzo on September 11th, 2021. Photo: Tino ROMANO/ANSA /AFP

The largest such protest, held in Rome on October 8th, attracted around 10,000 people. It later descended into violence as protestors affiliated with neo-fascist groups attacked buildings and clashed with police.

READ ALSO: Riots put Italian government under pressure to ban neo-fascist groups

Rome authorities rerouted all subsequent protest marches away from “sensitive” buildings such as government offices and trade union headquarters.

Protestors taking part in these marches have also been widely condemned for regularly comparing themselves to holocaust victims.

Protestors take part in an anti-green pass demonstration in Rome called by far-right Forza Nuova activists. Photo: Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Another large protest called by dock workers in the northern port city of Trieste attracted an estimated 7,000 people at its height and continued for several days, causing disruption to businesses using the port.

A coronavirus outbreak linked to the port protest is so far known to have resulted in 200 positive Covid cases and five hospitalisations, and made Trieste the centre of a surge in cases that risks new restrictions being applied to the surrounding Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region.

The city’s newly elected centre-right mayor Roberto Dipiazza subsequently banned protests in the central square, Piazza Unità d’Italia, saying they had “damaged the image of the city and threaten to take us backwards,” news agency Ansa reports, while the local prefecture said protestors had “launched objects” at protected cultural sites and were endangering the city’s heritage.