Fascist salute not always a crime – La Russa

Senate Speaker Ignazio La Russa has said making Fascist salutes is not necessarily always a crime amid a major furore over the salutes made by many participants at ceremony commemorating the 1978 Acca Larentia massacre in Rome on Sunday.

“The fact that there is uncertainty about whether certain gestures in commemoration cases (are considered criminal) does not help to resolve the issue,” La Russa, a founding member of Premier Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing Brothers of Italy (FdI) party whose roots go back to the neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (MSI), told Italian dailies.

He said there were “conflicting rulings” about whether such acts were criminal, adding that he was looking forward to an upcoming ruling by the Supreme Court of Cassation regarding the crime of apology of Fascism.

He added that FdI had nothing to do with what happened at Sunday’s ceremony recalling the Acca Larentia massacre, in which two members of the MSI’s youth wing, Franco Bigonzetti and Francesco Ciavatta, aged 13 and 17, were shot dead, allegedly by far left militants, outside the party’s Rome headquarters in the street named after a Roman goddess.

A third MSI youth wing member, Stefano Recchioni, 19, was fatally injured by a stray bullet during ensuing clashes by members of the youth wing, the Fronte della Gioventù, who rioted after the deaths, and police.

Vittoria Baldino, an MP for the opposition 5-Star Movement (M5S), blasted La Russa’s comments in a Facebook post, describing them as “horrific”.