Italian PM Meloni criticizes youth wing of her far-right party for glorifying fascism


MILAN (AP) — Italian Prime Minister Giorgio Melon I reprimanded the youth wing of her far-right party Brothers of Italy after an Italian news outlet published videos showing some of its members glorification of fascism.

“I have said and repeated it dozens of times, but perhaps I should repeat it: there is no room in the Brothers of Italy for racist or anti-Semitic positions, just as there is no room for nostalgic thoughts about the totalitarianism of the 1900s, or for any other show of stupid folklore,” Melons she said in a letter to her party, published by Italian media on Tuesday.

Online news outlet Fanpage last month published the videos, filmed with a hidden camera by a journalist posing as an activist from the Brothers of Italy’s youth wing, showing members of the group praising fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, giving fascist salutes and shouting the Nazi cry “Sieg Heil.”

Meloni has criticized the fascist regime’s anti-Jewish racial laws and suppression of democracy, but critics have long argued that she has not done enough to distance herself from her party’s neo-fascist roots.

The Brothers of Italy trace their origins to the Italian Social Movement, or MSI, which was founded in 1946 by former Mussolini officials and attracted fascist sympathizers into its ranks. It remained a small far-right party until the 1990s, when it became the National Alliance and sought to distance itself from its neo-fascist past.

Meloni was a member of the youth sections of the MSI and the National Alliance and founded the Brothers of Italy in 2012. She retained the tricolour symbol of the MSI in her party’s logo.

Liliana Segre, a 93-year-old senator for life and Holocaust survivor, told Italy’s private television channel La7 that such sentiments have always existed in Italy, but that with the new far-right-led government, “they no longer have anything to be ashamed of.”

She said the Nazi slogans had revived memories of deportation. “Will I now, at my age, be forced to leave my country, as once happened?”

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