Thursday 22 December 2011

Five arrested in Rome for plotting against Jewish community

ROME (AFP-EJP)---Police in Rome have arrested five Italian neo-fascists belonging to the "Militia" movement on harges of plotting violence against the Rome Jewish community.

The accused plotted to attack Rome's Jewish community president, Riccardo Pacifici [right], as well as the city's mayor, Gianni Alemanno [left]; the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Gianfranco Fini; and the president of the Senate.

All five are charged with having spread ideas based on ethnic and racial hatred by means of a bimonthly magazine called "Insurrection," as well as through offensive graffiti on the eternal city's ancient walls.  Police said 11 others were under investigation.

Those arrested Wednesday include the "Militia" longtime leader, Maurizio Boccaci, who is in his 50s. Police raids were carried out in several cities across the country.

According to Italian state television, the accused wanted to foment a "revolutionary war" against the official Italian institutions. Alemanno and Fini both are mainstream right-wing politicians who had their political roots in the neo-fascist movement but now demonstrate strong support for Israel.

Alemanno has been the target of neo-Nazi "Militia" banners and graffiti. Alemanno and Pacifici made a two-day visit to Israel this week to meet with freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Italy’s Jews have expressed solidarity with victims of recent racist attacks in Italy and pledged to fight against a new outbreak of racist violence. [Italian man kills two Senegalese traders in Florence]

"The news in Italy in recent days marks the return of hate, prejudice and xenophobia in our cities," Renzo Gattegna, the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, said in a statement.

"The response to these attacks must be constant vigilance and a merciless fight against whoever foments hatred," he said. "The Italian Jews will certainly do their part."

The charges include criminal association to spread racial hatred, incitement to violence, and discrimination for racial, ethnic and religious reasons.

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