Violent protests against Salvini Naples rally
NAPLES- As many as 2,000 protesters marched towards the Palacongressi auditorium of the Mostra d’Oltremare in Fuorigrotta Saturday, protesting against the xenophobic right-wing Northern League party leader Matteo Salvini, police said.
In anti-riot gear, police and helicopters from above tried to keep the crowd under control and at bay as hooded procession members throw Molotovs and rocks at officers. Responding with tear gas the police were protecting the various entrances of the fair site.
With last minute orders arriving just before the right-wing League party was scheduled to rally at the Mostra d’Oltremare, the Prefect overturned the mayor’s veto for Secretary Matteo Salvini to speak.
After Mayor Luigi De Magistris had denied the use of public facilities to the extremist earlier in the week, the Governor and the Prefect imposed on local authorities to uphold the Lega leader’s appointment at the Fuorigrotta city grounds.
"No one has taken away Salvini’s freedom of speech, but we cannot allow a city structure to be available to him. The assembly could very well have been held elsewhere with the same level of law enforcement and security,” the mayor explains.
"We are all convinced Democrats in this administration and we defend the constitution, that’s why we are against Salvini,” he continues. “ This rally will keep the city from hosting an event on drones that was to be held on the premises and for people to take a walk in the area,” he concludes.
Hours before the rally, a large peaceful crowd comprised of hundreds of protestors met and gathered in Piazza Sannazzaro ready to march to the Mostra d’Oltremare with signs and bulldozers.
“With the irony that has always characterised Neapolitans, we plan on re-enacting city resistance in The Four Days of Naples that was our answer to the attempted Fascist invasion during World War II and we are going to hand the LEGA leader a foglio di via (expulsion order),” announced the community centre spokesman to RAI regional news, before the demonstration became violent.
Upon the Secretary’s request for a confrontation with the Parthenope people, Il Mattino, southern Italy’s most important daily newspaper both for numbers of copies sold and for readers, agreed to host Salvini in a forum at the newsroom headquarters on Wednesday. Led by Chief Editor Alessandro Barbano, the panel, comprised of staff journalists Pietro Perone and Marco Esposito, faced many plaguing issues that have helped to maintain the North and South rivals for decades.
The debate heated up immediately with quotes read concerning comments made by LEGA party members and Salvini himself over the years. Denying hate for the south or its people, Salvini stated: “Naples isn’t just about absenteeism in Loreto Mare Hospital”, applauding the researcher Antonio Giordano, from Posillipo who immigrated to the USA.
Diametrically in opposition to traditional party views, the 43-year old leader claims either Italians, from both the north and south, work together to save the country, or no one will be saved. “I’ve come here because I believe that the only way we can win is if we win together,” he told the panel.
In reaction to allegations that the south has been stripped of all its riches, while the politician insists that: “those who make mistakes, must pay,” he nonetheless asserted that the strong need to help the weak. Referring to the north that is wealthier, he claims to be “in favour of developing the infrastructures of the south: the ports, its roads, its railroads…etc… it’s normal to work together, as a united nation, and help each other.
The right-wing leader had no reservations however in attacking the Parthenope mayor: “I’m sorry that Naples is represented by someone like De Magistris who has the nerve to say Salvini should come here. Who does he think he is? He’s a mayor, so why doesn’t he take care of parking and public housing?” he asked rhetorically.
He equally reserved criticism for the Democratic Party governor, Vincenzo De Luca. “He doesn’t know how to spend European funds.” Yet, once he was consulted on what were the differences of resources available to each citizen between the north and south, the Party Secretary fumbled. “He doesn’t know how to add up all the extra items, from European funds to social pensions or to disability,” summaries reporter Esposito.
Claiming to be “ready to lead the nation better than Renzi,” Salvini also reiterated that he will be voting “no confidence” against Sport Minister Luca Lotti, under investigation for having divulged secret information within the explosive CONSIP probe. Calling the distrust motion in parliament a step towards no confidence for the entire executive team, he wants Italians to return to the voting urns “as soon as possible.”
“My interest in Naples is to know and not to round up votes,” declared Salvini when he decided to accept the local LEGA representative Cantalamessa repeated invitations to come to Naples.