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Italy premier Meloni breaks silence over party's youth wing scandal

Fratelli d'Italia rattled by bombshell Fanpage report.

Italy's premier Giorgia Meloni has finally addressed the scandal involving her party's youth wing after some of its members were secretly filmed making racist and anti-Semitic remarks.

Meloni broke her silence over the probe by Italian media website Fanpage into the youth group of her right-wing Fratelli d'Italia party, in response to questions from reporters in Brussels in the early hours of Friday.

The first part of the bombshell report into Gioventù Nazionale (GN) was released two weeks ago, as Meloni hosted the G7 summit in Puglia, with the second equally explosive segment airing this week.

Undercover reporters from Fanpage's investigative unit Backstair infiltrated GN groups and chat forums, capturing hidden footage of members engaging in fascist chants, Nazi salutes and anti-Semitic rants as well as making boastful references to neofascist terrorism.

The report led to the resignations on Thursday of two leading GN members, one of whom made alleged anti-Semitic remarks about Ester Mieli, an FdI senator and former spokesperson for Rome's Jewish community.

The other was recorded saying that she had "never stopped being racist and Fascist" as well as making derogatory remarks about the Italian anti-fascist activist and newly-elected MEP Ilaria Salis.

Senior FdI officials were also filmed attending rallies organised by the GN group which Meloni has repeatedly praised in the past.

Opposition parties have been calling on Meloni to condemn the behaviour by the GN members in the report, with outrage mounting after the second part of the investigation was published on Wednesday.

After two weeks of silence, Meloni told journalists in Brussels that she once again condemned "those who have racist, anti-Semitic or nostalgic feelings", saying they are"incompatible" with Fratelli d'Italia, and stressing that she had "already asked the party to take action".

However she quickly went on the counterattack, stating that the manner in which the undercover footage was obtained was "not journalistic" but rather it smacked of "methods used by regimes" to infiltrate political parties.

Meloni also claimed that during the last 75 years in Italy "no one has thought of infiltrating a political party and secretly filming its meetings,” before calling on Italy's president to ask: "Is this allowed from today?"

Photo credit: Alessia Pierdomenico / Shutterstock.com.

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