The members of Italian far-right party Forza Nuova (FN), in coalition with Polish neo-nazi group National Radical Camp (Obóz Narodowo-Radykalny, ONR), launched beach patrols in order to “protect women and children from migrants” in the Italian town Rimini. Additionally, the fascists intend to conduct separate patrols in the town, against “migrant drug dealers”.
The first patrol took place yesterday, following a joint FN and ONR conference “Wake Up Europe”. The event was attended by FN leader Roberto Fiore and members of ONR. The conference had to change venues three times due to protests from the Italian left, which described the attendees as nazis and mafia members and called for a blockade and a boycott of the hotel where the event finally was allowed to take place. The Italian left also declares that they will protest against the right-wing patrols in Rimini.
During the conference, the Italian and Polish far right activists declared that rapes of European women by migrants specifically are “part of everyday life in Europe” and that they are forced to “take matters in their own hands to ensure safety of our women and children.” They also called for a fight against a “muslim invasion.”
Polish nazis said on their Twitter page that they decided to “take matters into their own hands” in reaction to the horrific incident from August last year, when a Polish tourist was brutally raped in Rimini by three men: citizens of Morocco and Nigeria. The men were sentenced to 8, 9, and 16 years in prison. In Poland, this abhorrent crime became a go-to symbol of alleged dangers of muslim migration to Europe for the far-right.
The survivor, in an interview for the Italian paper La Repubblica called for calm and said that all she wants is justice and not revenge and asked not to politicize her tragedy. Her wishes however were not respected and this tragic incident lead to yet another outbreak of anti-migrant sentiments in both Poland and Italy, with Polish Vice Minister of Justice openly stating that he wishes for reinstallation of death penalty and torture among others.
Whilst sexual attacks on women can never be dismissed, the extreme right-wing myth that the refugees coming to Europe are the main perpetrators in this crimes have been debunked by the media and have no back up in statistics. What’s more, spreading fear about some particular group of men and enforcing the belief that sexual attacks are committed by strangers is dangerous to women as, contrary to the European nationalists’ claims, most of this attacks are committed by family members, friends and acquaintances rather than strangers.
ONR considers itself an ideological descendant of the antisemitic political movement which existed before World War II, sharing the same name and flag. The original 1930s movement, banned in Poland in 1934, was influenced by the ideas of Italian fascism and German nazism. The modern version of ONR is considered a neo-nazi movement by many antifascist campaigners in Poland, and its flag is widely recognised as a hate symbol. ONR attracted publicity in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 for marches celebrating the anniversary of the anti-Jewish riot in polish town Myślenice in 1936. In 2009, one of the organisation’s regional cells was delegalized by the court for promoting nazism and racial hatred.
The FN leader Roberto Fiore, a frequent guest on ONR marches in Poland, in the 1970s was one of the co-funders of Terza Posizione (“the third position”). The organisation acted as a cover-up for the extreme right terrorist group Nuclei Armati Revoluzionari (NAR). The group was responsible, among others, for a bomb attack at the train station in Bolonia in 1980, which killed 85 and injured 200 people. NAR was also known for political assassinations. Following the NAR trial, Fiore was sentenced to 5 years in prison, however, he did not serve it, as he fled to the UK and avoided extradition back to Italy. In 2000, The Guardian suggested that the extradition did not take place due to Fiore’s regular cooperation with MI6. In 2013, during an interview, Fiore said that “fascism was a great episode in Italian history and had great achievements.”
Forza Nuova recently expressed its solidarity with Luca Traini, a neo-nazi who in February this year went on a two-hour shooting rampage in Macerata in central Italy, injuring 6 people from Nigeria, Ghana, the Gambia and Mali.
Image: the ONR patrol in Rimini (screengrab from social media)