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Rome mayor blocks plan to name street after fascist leader

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi is seeking to block a plan to name a street in the capital after Giorgio Almirante, the founder of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI).

Rome mayor blocks plan to name street after fascist leader
Giorgio Almirante (R) pictured with Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France's National Front, in 1985. Photo: AFP

Raggi was reportedly caught by surprise when a majority of politicians from her Five Star Movement and the far-right Brothers of Italy, a descendant of MSI, backed the move in a vote on Thursday.

Almirante established the party in 1946 in dedication to keeping the ideals of dictator Benito Mussolini alive, and led it until a year before his death in 1988. Almirante joined Mussolini’s Fascist Youth Movement at the age of 9.

Giorgia Meloni, leader of Brothers of Italy, was also a member of the youth wing of MSI, while the father of Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s deputy prime minister and leader of the Five Star Movement, was an activist for the party.

Meloni’s party celebrated the approval on Thursday as a “historic victory for the Italian and Roman right”.

Raggi has asked Five Star Movement advisors to prepare a motion preventing the naming of streets after fascists or those who exposed themselves as anti-Semitic or racist.

The vote came after Raggi pledged to rename streets currently named after politicians who signed the anti-Semitic Manifesto of Race during the fascist era.

“Rome is anti-fascist,” Raggi declared in January, adding that she hoped the capital could set an example to other Italian cities in removing the names which “represent a shame for our country”.

2018 marks 80 years since the charter was published, preparing the way for the Racial Laws which came into force later in 1938. Under these laws, Italian Jews were stripped of their citizenship and banned from working in certain professions or attending school.

 

ROME

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome’s River Tiber

The body of a missing 21-year-old tourist was found in the River Tiber on Thursday morning, according to media reports.

Body of missing American tourist found in Rome's River Tiber

Elijah Oliphant, from Dallas, Texas, was on holiday with his family in Rome when he went missing several days ago.

Oliphant’s parents reported his disappearance after he left his hotel room shortly after midnight on May 24th and did not return.

Hotel security footage showed him leaving the premises wearing a white undershirt and pyjama bottoms, which he was wearing when he was found.

Oliphant’s corpse was reportedly spotted by passersby near the Ponte Sisto bridge in Rome’s Trastevere district around 10am on Thursday morning. His body was positively identified by his parents.

Members of the fire brigade and river police who recovered the body say there were no obvious signs of violence, but an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death. Trastevere police are reportedly investigating the matter.

The Oliphant family had arrived in Rome for a holiday on May 23rd. When Elijah went missing the following day, his parents launched an urgent appeal to help find their son.

His disappearance was featured on the missing persons television show, Chi l’ha visto (‘Who’s seen them?’) on May 25th.

Several foreigners have been found drowned in the Tiber in recent years, though there are no indication that any of the incidents are linked.

In 2016, the body of 19-year-old American student Beau Solomon was recovered from the river.

Rough sleeper Massimo Galioto was charged involuntary manslaughter in the case, but was ultimately acquitted in 2020.

Prosecutors said that Galioto pushed Solomon in the course of a violent argument. Galioto’s defense team acknowledged that the two had argued but said the student had accidentally slipped.

In May 2019, 37-year-old Imen Chatbouri, a former athletics champion from Tunisia, was found dead in the Tiber after a night out. CCTV footage later showed she had been pushed from the Ponte Sisto bridge.

A then-26-year-old man whose advances she had rejected earlier that evening was convicted of her murder in November 2021.

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