Green Pass: Italy trade unions hold Rome rally against fascism

Rome anti-fascist rally organised in response to attack on CGIL trade union base. 

Rome security chiefs are meeting at Italy’s interior ministry on Wednesday to discuss public order plans ahead of what could be another difficult weekend for the capital.

They are also likely to discuss what went wrong last weekend after a ‘No Green Pass’ protest spilled out from Piazza del Popolo onto the streets of the city centre, resulting in clashes near the parliament and the storming of the CGIL trade union headquarters, amid accusations that police lost control of the situation.

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Leaders of the neo-fascist Forza Nuova were subsequently arrested on charges of allegedly orchestrating the violence, which was condemned by the government and across the political spectrum, and the group’s website has been taken offline pending a criminal investigation.

CGIL, whose offices were trashed in the attack, has been joined by the CISL and UIL unions in calling a major anti-fascist rally in defence of “work and democracy” on Saturday 16 October.

Attack on democracy

“It was an attack on democracy” – said CGIL secretary general Maurizio Landini – “If anyone has thought of intimidating us… they must know that CGIL and the workers’ movement have defeated fascism in this country and regained democracy…they don’t scare us”.

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The ‘Mai più fascismi‘ demonstration is scheduled at 14.00 in Piazza S. Giovanni in Laterano, an historic venue associated with trade unions and the left.

Landini has appealed to “to all associations, political forces, democratic citizens, to all be united on the 16th to give an answer to the country and give a sign to Europe.”

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During the rally union leaders will call for the dissolution by law of all neo-fascist and neo-Nazi organisations, a prospect that is already under debate at parliamentary level in relation to Forza Nuova.

Saturday’s demonstration already has political support from the centre-left Partito Democratico (PD), the populist Movimento 5 Stelle (M5S) and left-wing LeU group of health minister Roberto Speranza.

Rome votes for new mayor

However the right-wing Lega is boycotting the event, which will be held on the eve of a run-off mayoral vote between the centre-right Enrico Michetti and the centre-left Roberto Gualtieri (PD).

Lega leader Matteo Salvini claimed the Rome rally is being “organised by the left on the day of electoral silence, before the run-off”.

Salvini is also not in favour of Forza Nuova being disbanded. Speaking in Trieste on Tuesday he said: “I hear there are people who want to outlaw political forces, whoever speaks of fascism must remember that fascism was born by outlawing those who did not think like them, trade unions and others.”

Green Pass

The anti-fascist rally takes place against the backdrop of growing tensions over Italy’s Green Pass, a certificate showing that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.

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From Friday 15 October the pass will be required by all workers in Italy – in both the public and private sectors – in one of the most sweeping anti-covid measures in the world.

Workers who violate the rules, set to affect 23 million people, will risk heavy fines and being suspended from their jobs without pay.

Opposition to Green Pass 

There are more ‘No Green Pass’ protests planned in Rome this weekend, with police unlikely to tolerate any unauthorised deviations of agreed venues or routes, according to reports in the Italian media.

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Protests against the Green Pass in Italy had begun to fizzle out over the summer however there are renewed tensions as 15 October draws nearer.

On top of the anti-fascist rally, the Green Pass protests and the “right versus left” mayoral run-off, security chiefs will be monitoring fans attending the Lazio-Inter match on Saturday evening at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico which is now permitted to fill 75 per cent of its seats after Italy raised the capacity in the latest covid-19 decree.

Italy’s vaccination campaign

There are 43 million people in Italy fully vaccinated, with covid hospitalisations declining steadily since early summer, however around 8 million Italians have yet to receive even the first covid shot.

Details about the Green Pass can be found – in Italian – on the Certificazione Verde website. For official information about the covid-19 situation in Italy – in English – see the health ministry website.