The city of Verona, famously known as the home for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, was host to a two-day Neo-Nazi festival on July 9, 10.
The festival, organised by Italian identitarians and Hammerskins, was attended by hundreds of right-winged extremists including women and children.
Events such as football, music concerts, and several workshops were conducted.
The event was highlighted by investigative journalist Fabian Eberhard who posted pictures of the event on his official Twitter page.
He wrote, “The event is highly problematic: It serves as an international networking opportunity for the scene. And an even bigger festival is planned in Verona for September.”
Model city to far-right extremist
The world knows Verona as the city of love.
But according to Eberhard, organisations like CasaPound, Fortezza Europa, Forza Nuova, or Veneto Fronte Skinheads make the city a center of right-wing extremism. “And the authorities often just watch the events without intervening,” he tweeted.
This 2018 article references how Verona local council passed a law legalizing anti-abortion laws.
The next year, the city hosted the World Congress of Families (WCF) which had members who supported anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQIA+ laws.
According to local journalist Giulia Siviero, the city has been long hijacked by far-right and religious movements but it has been gaining national momentum only recently.
Women, LGBTQIA+ people, immigrants, and religious minorities are all targets of the same movements, which have increasingly captured Italian politics, starting from Verona.
The fast re-emergence of Neo-Nazi and White Supremacy
Neo-Nazi believers are staunch supporters of Nazi ideology, the Great Replacement Theory, and White Supremacy. They endorse ideas such as fascism, anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQIA+, anti-immigration, and Islamophobia.
Nazi ideology is a form of fascism that disagrees with democracy and the parliamentary system.
White Supremacy is a belief that states white people as a superior race compared to others and hence the dominant one.
The Great Replacement theory is a conspiracy theory that paints a picture that non-white people, immigrants, and people of colour are being called into the United States and other Western countries to “replace” white people leading to their extinction.
A Neo-Nazi festival is not new to the modern world. Last weekend, a music festival by a White supremacist group that believes in Nazi history was held in Boise, United States. The event was called “Hills of Hate Camp”.
On April 21, 2018, in a small town called Ostritz in Germany, hundreds of people attended a two-day festival to celebrate the 129th birth anniversary of Adolf Hitler. The festival was named “Schild und Schwert” or in other words, Shield and Sword.
Many were seen wearing shirts with slogans such as “Keepers of the Race,” “White is my favorite color” and “Adolf was the best,” while the event was guarded by a group called “Aryan Brotherhood.”
Further, people from several neighboring European countries such as Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic were expected to attend but were stopped at the borders by the security.