Controversy over funeral of extreme right activist in Rome.
A police investigation is underway after a coffin was draped with a Nazi swastika flag outside a church in Rome.
The incident took place following the funeral of Alessia Augello, an activist belonging to the neo-fascist Forza Nuova group, who died aged 44 on 7 January from postoperative medical complications.
The funeral was held on Monday afternoon in the parish of S. Lucia, near Piazzale Clodio in the Prati district of Rome.
After the ceremony the coffin was wrapped in a swastika flag and the deceased was "honoured" with the stiff-armed 'Roman salute' by a few dozen mourners, a scene immortalised in photographs taken by local residents.
The incident was condemned by the priests who officiated at the funeral, Don Alessandro and Don Paolo Emilio, who said: "Unfortunately what happened outside the church at the end of the celebration took place without any authorisation on the part of the parish priest or the celebrant priest, both of whom were unaware of what was about to happen."
"We wish to express our deep sadness and disappointment for what has occurred" - the clerics stated - "by distancing ourselves from every word, gesture and symbol used outside the church, attributable to extremist ideologies far from the message of the Gospel of Christ."
The national leader of Forza Nuova, Roberto Fiore, and the group's Roman leader, Giuliano Castellino, remain in prison following the 9 October storming of the headquarters of the CGIL trade union during a protest against Italy's Green Pass covid certificate.
The assault on the CGIL base was condemned across the political spectrum, leading to a major anti-fascist rally in Rome, amid calls for Forza Nuova to be banned.