Neo-fascists mourn Mussolini on Lake Como

Neo-fascists mourn Mussolini on Lake Como

The Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his lover Clara Petacci were executed by the Italian resistance in the village of Messagre-Giulino on 28 April 1945.

On Sunday in Dongo, a city on Lake Como where Mussolini and Petacci were arrested, neo-fascists dressed in black marched to place 15 roses on the water, in memory of the ministers and officials of the Mussolini government who were executed there. They then raised their arms in the Roman salute and shouted a fascist song.

Police separated the neo-fascist demonstrators from hundreds of protestors who sang the famous Italian anti-fascist song "Bella Ciao" during the ceremony for Mussolini.

Demonstrations were also recorded in Predappio, the birthplace and burial site of Mussolini.

The ceremony to memorialise Mussolini took place while Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced at a conference of her Fratelli d'Italia party in Pescara that she will stand as a candidate in the European elections.

Fratelli d'Italia has its roots in the Italian Social Movement, founded in 1946 by a head of cabinet in Mussolini's last government. Meloni, who joined the movement's youth branch as a teenager, has sought to distance her party from its neo-fascist roots, condemned fascism's suppression of democracy and insisted that Italy's right has consigned fascism to history decades ago.

From the stage in Pescara, the Prime Minister accused the left of representing a totalitarian threat to Italy. Speaking at the conference, Meloni said the Communist Party had made a formal complaint against against the temporary accomodation surrounding the Fratelli d'Italia rally. “I note that the Communist Party still exists, and I say this to show where those nostalgic for totalitarianism are in Italy today,” she said.

Shortly before Meloni's speech, the president of the Senate and Fratelli d'Italia member Ignazio La Russa spoke about a bust of Mussolini he has in his possession. La Russa has been criticised over the years for never speaking out against fascism.

"I don't have to regret having kept a bust of Mussolini at home, it's an inheritance from my father. What should I have done? Throw away a gift from my father? I gave it to my sister. I also have Stalin, De Gasperi, a Roman emperor", said La Russa.

La Russa also criticised writer Antonio Scurati, who ended up in a media storm this week after state television station Rai blocked his monologue against the Meloni government on 25 April, Liberation Day.

Scurati accused the prime minister and her party of never distancing themselves from fascism. "I expect a trilogy on Stalin, Scurati already makes a lot of money talking about Mussolini", President La Russa said again.