Politics For Members

Italy shocked after video shows hundreds making Fascist salute

The Local Italy
The Local Italy - [email protected]
Italy shocked after video shows hundreds making Fascist salute
Far-right militants make the Fascist salute during a rally marking the 90th anniversary of the "March on Rome" on October 28th, 2012 in Predappio. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP

There was uproar in Italy this week as footage emerged of hundreds of people making the Fascist salute in Rome.


What does the video show?

The video shows dozens of people standing in line and raising their hands in a Fascist salute (a gesture that involves extending the right arm forward with the palm facing down) three times as they shout "present". Most appear to be men, dressed primarily in black.

The video was taken on Sunday night at an event commemorating the death of three members of the youth wing of the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI) – from which PM Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party descended – who were killed in clashes with security forces on January 7th, 1978. 

The crowd appears to be gathered in front of the former Rome headquarters of the MSI, in Rome’s Via Acca Larenzia (Tuscolano neighbourhood), where the three teenagers had been killed.

What's the reaction been in Italy? 

Italian opposition forces voiced outrage over the incident, with many high-profile figures urging the government to work towards the immediate disbandment of neo-fascist organisations.

Elly Schlein, leader of the centre-left opposition Democratic Party, described the scene as “unacceptable”, and said she planned to question Italy’s interior minister about the incident. 

“Neo-fascist organisations must be dissolved, as the Constitution says,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

The Democratic Party also called on the government to "oppose fascist apologists by every means" via a statement.

The opposition Five Star Movement said it intends to make a complaint to the Rome Public Prosecutor's office to establish if any crime was committed, while Carlo Calenda, leader of the centrist Azione party, said the incident was "an unacceptable disgrace in a European democracy.”


The ruling coalition also sought to distance itself from Sunday’s events on Monday, though at the time of writing Meloni had not yet commented on them.

The foreign minister, Antonio Tajani, who leads Meloni’s coalition ally Forza Italia, said any celebration of dictatorship should be condemned.

Fabio Rampelli, a Brothers of Italy member and vice-president of the lower house of parliament, said the party was “light years away” from the neo-fascist display.

He said that even though Brothers of Italy had not renounced “the memory of the three boys barbarically killed 46 years ago”, it “does not take part in that type of demonstration”.

Aren't there powers to stop this?

While Italy has laws against support for Fascism, or defending fascist ideals, these are rarely enforced.

READ ALSO: What are Italy’s laws against support for fascism?

Italy’s main piece of legislation against the dissemination of fascist propaganda is the so-called Scelba Law (Legge Scelba), which prohibits any member of “an association, movement or group of people [...] pursuing anti-democratic ends associated with the fascist party” and/or using violence “as a means of political struggle”. 


It also prohibits “exalting members, principles, events and behaviours of fascist nature”, and carries a potential sentence of between five and twelve years in prison.

While the Scelba Law might at first glance appear to be a fairly stringent piece of legislation, it actually has no power against those holding or glorifying fascist views unless it can be proved that they are actively working to reorganise the former Fascist party and undermine democracy.

The scope of the law has been confirmed by the Italian Constitutional Court on multiple occasions, including in 1957, when the court stated that the law only applies to acts “aimed at restoring Fascism in Italy” – something which, by its very own nature, is incredibly hard to prove.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also