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Italian uproar over fascist-themed beach near Venice

July 11, 2017 4:35 pm

When a national newspaper revealed that a beach near Venice was styling itself on the fascist era of Benito Mussolini, police quickly raided the club.

One sign said “Anti-democratic zone and regime” while another appeared to joke about the Nazi Holocaust, reading “Entry forbidden – gas chamber”.

The Venice prefect ordered “any references to fascism” to be removed.

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But now the row has spread to parliament, over a bill to tighten up laws against promoting fascism.

Under the proposals put forward by the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), propaganda praising the Mussolini or Nazi regimes would become a crime punishable by up to two years in jail. The bill is particularly geared towards material posted on the internet.
Freedom and expression

The populist Five Star movement condemned the bill as killing freedom, while right-wing parties including the Northern League said it criminalized opinion and made no sense.

Former Prime Minister and PD leader Matteo Renzi argued that it was fascism that had killed liberty rather than a law criminalising propaganda, while the PD politician behind the bill, Emmanuele Fiano, said Italian law already made clear there were limits to freedom of expression.

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