HomeWorldItalian fascists give salute on Mussolini execution anniversary

Italian fascists give salute on Mussolini execution anniversary

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Dozens of Italian fascists gathered Sunday to mark Benito Mussolini’s execution and proudly gave the recently unbanned fascist salute.

The notorious gesture, which became associated with the Nazis but originated in Italy, was outlawed in the country for years. But the nation’s top court narrowed the rules in January.

Italian fascists gathered Sunday in Dongo, marching through the small town on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy. Dressed in all-black, the fascists stopped by the lake and dropped 15 roses into the water, one for each of the fascist party members captured and killed in the area.

As the Allies liberated Italy in April 1945, Mussolini fled his base in Milan and headed north toward Switzerland with his mistress, Clara Petacci. The two left Milan on April 25 but only made it about 45 miles north to Dongo before they were captured by local anti-fascist partisans on April 27. The partisans executed Mussolini and Petacci on April 28 in the town of Mezzegra-Giulino.

Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse via AP

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. (Roberto Monaldo/LaPresse via AP)

On Sunday, the fascists gathered in honor of Mussolini 79 years after his death. The group’s leader shouted “Comrad Benito Mussolini!” and the assembled supporters responded “Present!” and gave the fascist salute.

Hundreds of anti-fascist protesters also gathered in Dongo on Sunday and sang “Bella Ciao,” the song of the Italian resistance and anti-fascist partisans. The groups were separated by police.

Fascists in Italy have been emboldened in recent years, in part due to the 2022 election of far-right prime minister Giorgia Meloni. Meloni’s party, Brothers of Italy, can be traced directly to Mussolini and the party of his old supporters, the Italian Social Movement.

In October 2022, thousands of fascists gathered in Mussolini’s birthplace and final resting place of Predappio to mark the 100th anniversary of his March on Rome.

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