Italy: Sicily, Anti-fascist coalition blocks neo Nazis

Eye-witness report from Henry Silke, with references to the Irish links of the local fascists.

Catania, Sicily

Anti-fascist coalition blocks neo nazis.

On the second of November fascists succeeded in preventing the neo-nazi Forza Nouva from marching in Catania, Sicily’s second city. The fascists had ironically chosen the ’Day of the Dead’ for their procession. They had intended to march up Via Etna, the main street in the centre of Catania, but a coalition of anti-fascists from the trade unions, the young communists and the social centres organised a counter protest at the intersection at Villa Bellini. Here the coalition held a single banner reading "Fascists and Bosses Out of the City". The blockade continued for about five hours with hundreds involved.

The anti-fascists were mainly made up of Catanese youth with some trade unionists also present. There were some immigrants present but from within the EU. The coalition was supported by the unions the local social forum and the ex partisans organisation. The anti-fascists refused to leave until it was certain the nazis had dispersed.

This action forced the police to set up two major roadblocks – one at Villa Bellini in front of the anti-fascists and the other two blocks away at Piazza Umberto where the nazis were forced to stop. It was possible to cross the police lines and see the fascist procession. In all there were fifty to seventy present – a fraction of the numbers at the counter protest. This was after the city had been plastered in literally hundreds if not thousands of Forza Nouva posters advertising the event.

They were made up of a core of about thirty who were wearing militaristic uniforms and were mainly nazi skinheads. They formed a circle and held a sort of candlelight mass to commemorate the nazi and fascist dead from the Second World War. A few supporters surrounded them holding nazi style red and black flags with the Celtic crosses in the centre.

(The Celtic cross has unfortunately been turned into a nazi symbol here and they are busy trying to steal as much of the Irish culture as they can. The Celtic cross is the official Forza Nouva symbol and is losing any other meaning. Fascist graffiti in memory of Bobby Sands is even common. What their allies in the BNP would think of this is anybody’s guess!) The fascist demonstration was also protesting against the right to choose, probably explaining one reason so few women were there.

To put into an Irish context, Forza Nouva is one of the groups Justin Barrett of Youth Defence was exposed to have links with by the Mirror over the summer. Forza Nouva are not simply a pro-life group or even the so called "soft fascism" of Haider’s FPO in Austria or Fini’s AN in Italy. Forza Nuova are a bona fida neo nazi party. They are worker, racist and want to remove all the rights won by women over the years in Italy. They also profess all the old racist theories of 1930s fascism and they hero-worship Mussolini. If the so-called "pro-lifers" in Ireland ally themselves with such groups we can only ask what their intentions are.

The anti-fascist action was a success, blocking the nazis from walking up Catania’s main street. Which is important in a city where, in some quarters, fascism is almost becoming a legitimate political ideology.

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November 2002