Reliving Terror and Fascist Violence in Italy: Assault on the Headquarters of the Workers’ Union CGIL and the Umberto I Polyclinic in Rome

Yoselina Guevara

This weekend in Rome, moments of violence and terror were experienced when numerous demonstrators against the “health passport or green pass (vaccination card against Covid-19)” attacked emblematic sites of the Italian capital, in an operation coordinated by the openly fascist Forza Nuova movement.

On Saturday, October 9, a group of the “no vac” (movement against the Covid-19 vaccines) went to the headquarters of one of the main Italian workers’ unions, CGIL, forced entry and occupied the building, destroying everything they found in their path, offices, computers, telephones, files, etc.

Almost simultaneously, another group of demonstrators arrived at the Chigi Palace, seat of the Italian government, where they beat up security forces, threw Molotov cocktails, and even attacked the armored security vehicles. Another clash also took place between the “No Vac” demonstrators and the police in front of the entrance of Piazzale Flaminio, where the security forces had to use tear gas and riot control equipment to block the violent masses participating in the protest.

On Sunday, October 10, the protests against the health passport continued, bringing the historic center of Rome to a standstill. Not content with what had happened on Saturday, the angry demonstrators stormed into the Umberto I polyclinic and stormed the emergency room, beating medical staff to allegedly free a “no vac” patient who had been admitted to the hospital.

The hospital director, Dr. Francesco Pugliese, told the press that the protester in question had arrived at the polyclinic to be treated in hysterics and refused to allow a rapid test to rule out the presence of Covid19. The doctor described that suddenly the emergency room of the polyclinic was taken over by the protesters against the health passport, preventing other people from entering to receive medical assistance and being the protagonists of violent acts in the health facilities.

The violent assaults and clashes of the weekend in Rome demolish the thesis of those who claim that fascism is just folklore or a simple nostalgia of some extreme right-wing sympathizers. The followers of the Roman salute make clear what they have always been worldwide: violence, terror, authoritarianism, totalitarianism, occupations and threats against institutions, and intimidation against citizens who oppose them. All this is happening a week before the municipal elections in the main Italian cities. Apart from the criminal responsibilities, which will have to be carefully evaluated by the relevant authorities, there are also clear political responsibilities on the part of those who have developed the language of violence as an element of dialectics and of those who have in recent months made overtures to these extreme and violent fringes, among them the members of the right-wing parties the Northern League and Fratelli d’Italia.

The Italian constitution is quite explicit in the transitional and final provisions number XII “the reorganization, under any form, of the dissolved Fascist party is forbidden”, a provision that summarizes the return to freedom after the period of obscurantism that Italians lived for 20 years under the Fascist dictatorship. But in this part of history it seems that the current protesters against the health passport are unaware of these details.

It is enough to read a little, even in the publications available on the Internet, to know that during the Mussolini years citizens could not go against the decisions of the government, it was forbidden to demonstrate or gather and those who went against totalitarianism and fascist authoritarianism ended up like the anti-fascist journalist, secretary of the Socialist Unitarian Party, Giacomo Matteotti, who was kidnapped and killed by a fascist squad in 1924.

The Forza Nuova party and the Casa Pound political movement do not conceal their fascist roots, just as other movements of the extreme right galaxy openly declare it. The problem lies in the fact that Italian institutions have allowed this weed to grow and, beyond just condemning what has happened, actions are needed that lead to the dissolution and the declaration of the illegality of these groups. The baton is in the hands of the institutions, but also in the hands of the population, who are in time to prevent a wave of fascist violence from sweeping the country, sponsored by alleged anti-vaccination demonstrations; a measure that has allowed the reactivation of Italian society, approaching a certain normality and the decrease of deaths due to Covid-19.

Yoselina Guevara Correo del Alba Venezuelan correspondent in Italy

Translation by Internationalist 360°