Italian MEP suspended over Nazi gestures

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Gianluca Buonanno wears a mask depicting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP
12:49 CET+01:00
An Italian MEP who wore a Hitler-style moustache and gave a Nazi salute during a debate at which the German Chancellor Angela Merkel was present has been suspended and told to pay a €3,060 fine.

The European Parliament said in a statement that Gianluca Buonanno, from Italy’s far-right Northern League, would be barred "from participating in all activities of Parliament’s official bodies for 10 consecutive days."

Buonanno, who has a track record of pulling offensive stunts, was disciplined over two separate gestures made during plenary sessions earlier this month.

On October 7th, he wore a T-shirt with an image of Angela Merkel combined with parts of an image of the German dictator Adolf Hitler. The next day, he sported a fake Hitler-style moustache and made a Nazi salute.

The incidents came a few weeks after the MEP raised eyebrows when he wore a mask depicting Merkel during another debate. The gesture was thought to have been a protest against the EU's handling of the refugee crisis.

Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke was also suspended for 10 days and fined the same amount for making a Nazi salute in July.

This isn't the first time Buonanno has been suspended from political activities for his insulting stunts. In January last year he smeared his face with black greasepaint as he advised Italians to “become a bit darker” if they wanted to be treated as well as black immigrants supposedly are.

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In September 2013, he provoked two openly gay MPs with a fennel bulb, or finocchio, the Italian slang for 'faggot'. The incident happened during a debate about the Italian pasta company Barilla, after its CEO sparked controversy for saying that the company would never feature gay people in its adverts.

Buonanno, who is also the mayor of Borgosesia, a town in Piedmont, sparked debate last week after saying he would give residents a bonus if they bought a gun to “defend themselves from delinquents”.

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