The invasion began almost as soon as the speeches began in the square of San Giovanni in Rome, only a week earlier. That day, a group of militants from the neo-fascist Forza Nuova party left the demonstration against the mandatory vaccination certificate and went to the headquarters of the Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL), the country’s main union. Dozens of them broke the windows and entered the building, destroying everything in front of them. The idea was to replicate the invasion of the US Congress. But it boiled down to an act of vandalism led by former fascist terrorists and criminals. Twelve people were arrested and remain behind bars. A week later, the union responded in the streets with all the democratic force of its militancy.
The motto of the demonstration, which was attended by around 100,000 people, according to the organizers, was “fascisms never again”. In the center of Rome, representatives of all parties and trade union organizations participated. It was attended by the leader of the 5 Star Movement, Giuseppe Conte, the leader of the Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, and the Social Democratic candidate for mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri. Everyone went in and out from behind the stage and accompanied CGIL leader Maurizio Landini. No one on the right, however, was at the protest. “This is not a manifestation of one part; defends the rights of all. And it represents all of Italy that wants to change and end the history of political violence. Antifascism is not about being against anyone, it is about guaranteeing the principles of our Constitution”, the union representative said in his speech.
The request of the CGIL and the other unions is that the Government bans, as soon as possible, Forza Nuova and all fascist organizations that use violent methods to impose political ideas. “From solidarity, it is necessary to move to concrete action,” said Landini, accompanied on stage by UIL secretaries, Pierpaolo Bombardieri, and CISL, Luigi Sbarra. The trade union world’s show of strength comes at a time of weakness for organizations of this type, which have recently lost part of their connection with the world of work, after the eruption of ultra-right populist movements. Therein lies part of the tension from last weekend, when many of these groups accused them of failing to protect workers’ rights by supporting the mandatory vaccination certificate in order to continue working in Italy. “Not all of us agree with this measure, it’s true. But today’s struggle is against fascism”, explained, in the middle of the demonstration, Rino Spinetta, a 67-year-old union leader from the Apulia region.
The left and the unions are trying to regain lost ground among the working world. Just this Sunday, the second round of municipal elections will be held in most of Italy’s large cities. The right did not want to participate in the demonstration claiming that it was a violation of the reflection day. “This has no impact on the elections because here nobody would vote for the right,” said Giovanni Alberto, a steel worker who came from Taranto. The demonstration lasted about two and a half hours, without incident.
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