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Two journalists attacked by far-right extremists in Rome

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Two journalists attacked by far-right extremists in Rome
Forza Nuova members wave party flags during a Rome demonstration. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
10:25 CET+01:00
Two reporters for Italy's L'Espresso magazine were assaulted by far-right extremists yesterday at the Verano cemetery in Rome.

The attack took place while the reporters were covering the commemoration of the victims of a 1978 attack against far-right activists, the online edition of the weekly reports.

Reporter Federico Marconi and photographer Paolo Marchetti on Monday morning were "hit and kicked" by members of the neo-fascist movement "Avanguardia Nazionale" and the head of Forza Nuova Roma, the Roman chapter of the far-right party.

"The assailants included Giuliano Castellino, the local head of Forza Nuova," the magazine reported.

Castellino is reportedly under special surveillance and was not supposed to attend the event, which commemorated members of the now-dissolved neo-Fascist Movimento Sociale Italiano party who were killed on January 7, 1978.

After the memorial at the Mausoleum, L'espresso writes, some members of the extreme right approached Marchetti, threatening him and demanding the camera's memory card, which he handed over. 

Apparently not satisfied, they continued to threaten him until leader Castellino arrived on the scene.

“Castellino approached our reporter and took him by the neck. Others shoved him, even kicking him,” wrote L'espresso.

The attackers also reportedly took the reporter's phone and wallet, saying they needed it “to identify him.”

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini responded to the incident by saying "those who beat people up should go to prison.”

Editors at L'espresso demanded action “well beyond the simple declaration of Salvini.”

“L'Espresso journalists will certainly not be intimidated by these vile and shameful fascist actions,” they wrote. “This was violence unworthy of a democratic state, which cannot accept the presence of political groups like Forza Nuova, Avanguardia Nazionale and CasaPound.”

Attacks on the free press are unfortunately not unusual in Italy, where some 200 journalists are under some kind of police protection.

A journalist was attacked by an alleged mafioso after asking questions about his links to a fascist organisation near Rome.

The offices of the La Repubblica and L'Espresso newspapers were attacked by Forza Nuova in 2017, in what the far-right party called the start of a “war” against the left.

The previous government warned of a "growing phenomenon of threats from neo-Nazi and neo-fascist groups as well as organized crime cells against journalists who through their work shine a light on wrongdoing."

However, ministersin the current government have themselves hurled insults at journalists, and the two ruling populist parties, the League and the Five Star Movement, are well known for denigrating any reports critical of the government as "fake news."

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