Forza Nuova’s branch in Milan has been residing in a publicly owned property for eight years.
While in Rome they are discussing the motion proposed by the Democratic Party to dissolve it, in Milan people are wondering if the time has come to cancel the lease that the neo-fascist party has signed with the regional institution ALER for a public property, under the false pretenses of operating a “citizens’ association” called UPIQ (“United for the neighborhood – united for the Italians”). But at 1 via Palmieri, in the Gratosoglio-Stadera district, what one can find is one of the two Milanese offices of the group led by Roberto Fiore. The contract with ALER dates back to 2013, and in 2019, despite protests, it was renewed for another ten years, with the approval of the Region.
In these eight years, ALER received numerous formal requests from ANPI for clarification on the use of the premises, often following attacks, violence and racist episodes that occurred in southern Milan. Two years ago, when the city administration led by Sala asked Governor Fontana for explanations, the regional councilor Stefano Bolognini replied that “all parties have the right to ask for the allocation of a space.” The complaints presented by the opposition in the region only resulted in recommendations to the tenants to refrain from carrying out activities other than those mentioned in the lease: that is, encouraging “moments of positive gathering in the popular neighborhoods.”
After what happened on Saturday in Rome, the issue is back under the spotlight, and some organizations are in the process of formally asking ALER to terminate the contract. The new city council, which took office only a few days ago, has not yet expressed its opinion.
But “as long as Forza Nuova is a party that is allowed to take part in elections, it cannot be treated as outside the law. That’s why dissolving it is necessary,” says Michela Fiore, president of ANPI’s Milan Stadera-Gratosoglio branch. “For years, in Milan, we have been suffering their acts of vandalism and their provocations: on each April 25, from the first year in which they were in the headquarters of Via Palmieri, it almost came to blows: they had banners and signs “Better dead than traitor,” “Partisan murderer and rapist.”
Since then, Michela Fiore explains, “for Liberation Day, the police made a cordon around the building at number 1.” Over the years, the provincial ANPI has asked the institutions several times to finally resolve the issue, but “the matter has always been postponed to a date to be determined.” Everyone pretended to believe that in Via Palmieri 1 there is really—and only—a neighborhood association: however, it is well known that around 20 neo-fascists from different backgrounds congregate in these spaces, formerly from AN, Fiamma, Cuore Nero, all gathered around Forza Nuova. “It happens that they also distribute food parcels, but only to put on a show for the local residents, who often do not want trouble,” continues Fiore.
Over the years, the apartment on Via Palmieri has hosted national leader Roberto Fiore on a trip to Milan and the presentation of books published by Altaforte, a publishing house founded by Francesco Polacchi, a CasaPound leader convicted of assault in 2015.
“Dissolving Forza Nuova is only the first step,” continues Michela Fiore. “Then what will be needed will be to apply the law and do long-term work with people. It is not a process that can be done in 5 minutes, but it must be done, because it is no longer acceptable that there are still people who give the Roman salute in the street. Or in the city council.”
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