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Violence in Italy as extremists clash

Police across Italy were braced for violence as extremists marked rival WWII anniversaries
Police across Italy were braced for violence as extremists marked rival WWII anniversaries  

MILAN, Italy -- At least three people were injured and several arrested when left and right-wing groups clashed on the anniversary of Italy's liberation from Nazi forces near the end of World War II.

Two of the injured were attacked as they tried to lay a wreath in Milan's Loreto Square, where the dead bodies of wartime dictator Benito Mussolini and his mistress were strung up in 1943, police said.

In Rome, a left-wing supporter was stabbed during a march to celebrate Italy's liberation by the allied forces, witnesses said.

Allessandro Dane, a 24-year-old member of the Communist Refoundation Party, was stabbed during a march organised by the "National Association of Partisans" -- a group of left-wing parties and unionists.

His party said there was no doubt the attack was political.

Witnesses said Dane was attacked by three people, who ran off before his friends could intervene. He was rushed to hospital, but was not thought to be in danger.

In a separate incident, police clashed with several dozen left-wing youths trying to disrupt a right-wing service in the Verano cemetery, in Rome.

Witnesses said at one point leftists tossed homemade bombs.

A neo-fascists service in the ceremony was led by Guido Mussolini, a grandson of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and candidate of a tiny right-wing party for mayor of Rome.

"We are here to commemorate the fascists who died," Guido Mussolini told reporters at the cemetery.

"Everyone thinks that fascists aren't worth anything, but we are here to commemorate them."

Police across Italy had been on the alert for violence as emotions ran high ahead of general elections on May 13.

The centre right, led by media mogul Silvio Berlusconi, is widely expected to oust the ruling centre-left coalition.

The extreme right-wing Forza Nuova party had been forbidden to march through Milan to commemorate Mussolini's death.

Instead, it held a news conference, saying "Liberation Day" should be a day of remembrance for everybody.

Forza Nuova's Secretary Roberto Fiore said his party planned a petition of 50,000 people after the election, demanding Communist parties be banned.



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RELATED SITES:
Forza Italia
Alleanza Nazionale
Benito Mussolini
The History of Italy

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