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Rome and Milan ban pro-Palestinian rallies on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Authorities order pro-Palestinian rallies in Rome and Milan to be rescheduled.

Police chiefs have banned pro-Palestinian rallies from taking place in Rome and Milan on Saturday 27 January, Holocaust Remembrance Day, following calls from the Jewish community in Italy and the Italian government.

The order for the marches to be rescheduled to another date, on the recommendation of Italy's interior minister Matteo Piantedosi, was backed by the mayors of both cities.

Piantedosi on Friday said that while the right to demonstrate must be guaranteed, in this case it must be "reconciled" with the significance of the Giorno della Memoria, adding that he was "confident" a compromise solution would be reached.

Earlier this week the president of Rome's Jewish community, Victor Fadlun, said that Saturday's planned "anti-Semitic march" would be a "defeat for everyone" if it went ahead, claiming that it would "reopen the wound of the Holocaust" and create a risk for "public order and security".

Fadlun's calls were backed by his counterpart in Milan, Walker Meghnagi, who described a pro-Palestinian rally planned in Milan on Saturday as "a disturbing initiative".

The Palestinesi d'Italia association on Friday said it will respect the police order, moving its demonstration in Milan to Sunday, and scheduling a press conference on Saturday afternoon to outline its reasons.

However the Giovani Palestinesi group told news agency ANSA that it would defy the order and go ahead with its demonstration in Milan on Saturday, with protesters also likely to take to the streets in Rome.

"It is extremely serious that the Jewish community affects a decision already taken by the competent authority that authorised the rally", Maya Issa, president of the Palestinian Students Movement told ANSA, describing it as "a decision that increases anger".

Issa said the students would "reserve the right to decide" whether to demonstrate on Sunday "but we cannot guarantee that there will not be people who will take to the streets" on Saturday.

Cover image: Pro-Palestinian rally in Milan on 18 November 2023. Photo credit: pcruciatti / Shutterstock.com

Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia