'Party's over': Italy's government announces crackdown on illegal raves

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 2 Nov, 2022 Updated Wed 2 Nov 2022 09:08 CEST
'Party's over': Italy's government announces crackdown on illegal raves
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini. The new government announced tough penalties for unauthorised event organisers after police broke up a Halloween party in the northern city of Modena. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)

Critics have voiced fears for public freedoms after the government said parties with more than 50 attendees would need a permit, with organisers risking jail terms of up to six years.


Italy's new hard-right government approved draft legislation at its first cabinet meeting on Monday meaning jail sentences of up to six years and fines of 10,000 euros for anyone organising parties or gatherings deemed a "risk to public safety".

The move came after a Halloween party in a disused warehouse near the northern city of Modena this weekend attended by around 1,000 people from Italy and abroad, which attracted complaints about noise and traffic.

Police confiscated audio equipment worth 150,000 euros after the Interior Ministry ordered local law enforcement to break up the event, local media reported.


The new crime of "invasion for dangerous gatherings" would carry a sentence of up to six years in jail, and opens up the possibility of wiretapping organisers.

The offence would apply to unauthorised gatherings of at least 50 people that "pose a risk to public health, safety or order", Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said at a press conference.

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Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said the moved showed "that the state won't turn a blind eye and fail to act when faced with law-breaking".

"The impression that the Italian state has given in recent years is one of being lax when it comes to respecting the rules and the law," she said at the press conference.

"The party's over," Matteo Salvini, League party leader and minister of infrastructure, tweeted.

He said "half of Europe" had "come to cause chaos in Modena in Italy with an illegal rave party".

The partygoers in Modena had planned to stay until Tuesday, but left the warehouse on Monday without trouble. Witnesses said they tidied up behind them.

Critics voiced concerns that the law could be used arbitrarily to shut down any type of public demonstration.

"It's a major error. Raves have no place in such a document. This calls into question public freedoms," Democratic Party secretary and former prime minister Enrico Letta posted on Twitter.

Writer Erri di Luca saw it as a "serious danger for open and free musical shows".

Many critics of the draft law pointed out that police did not move against the 2,000 far-right demonstrators who gathered in Benito Mussolini's birthplace of Predappio to celebrate the Fascist dictator.

"Who decides what is dangerous? A rave or a gathering of blackshirts who insult our constitution?" asked Democratic deputy Ilenia Malavasi on Tuesday.

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For LGBT rights activist Dario Accolla, "They simply want to ban demonstrations."


Opposition leaders also hit out at government priorities after the inaugural cabinet meeting saw ministers, facing demands to help families and business cope with soaring inflation, decide instead to allow thousands of suspended anti-vax doctors to return to work and single out rave party organisers.

There were no updates from the meeting regarding measures to help with the energy and cost of living crisis.

Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said similar legislation was "already in force in other countries," though didn't say which.

The new law would save money locally and for the state by enabling such gatherings to be quickly closed down, he added.

The minister declared the Modena rave and Predappio meeting "two totally different things".

"Predappio is a demonstration that has been held for many years. For the rave party there was a complaint from the owner" of the land, he said.


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