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Far-right Meloni joins Italians marking liberation from fascism

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has taken part in a solemn wreath-laying ceremony to mark Italy's National Liberation Day, which commemorates the end of fascism and Nazi occupation in 1945.

Liberation Day normally brings Italians together and it is marked with parades.

But for the first time since World War Two, Italy is led by a party whose origins lie in the country's post-fascist past.

And this year's commemorations have been riddled with controversy.

Among those taking part in Tuesday's Rome ceremony was a collector of fascist memorabilia, Senate Speaker Ignazio La Russa, who holds Italy's second-highest office of state.

A few days ago, he was quoted as saying: "There is no reference to anti-fascism in the Italian constitution".

His comments sparked a barrage of criticism from the centre-left, and calls for him to resign. Democratic Party leader Elly Schlein reacted by insisting that "anti-fascism is our constitution".

The furore was not the first time that Mr La Russa's links to Italy's fascist past had caused controversy.

He was filmed in 2018 escorting reporters around his house, showing busts and mini-statues of Benito Mussolini, along with fascist memorabilia.

He recently said he would never get rid of his Mussolini bust, because it was a gift from his father.


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