Fight breaks out in Italian Parliament after lawmaker makes move on government official


Fight breaks out on floor of Italian Parliament


Fight breaks out on floor of Italian Parliament

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A fight in the Italian Parliament over the far-right government‘s plans to grant regions more autonomy has triggered an uproar, with some comparing the punch-up to the days of fascism.

The fight broke out Wednesday evening when Five Star Movement deputy Leonardo Donno unfurled an Italian flag in front of regional affairs minister Roberto Calderoli of the pro-autonomy Northern League and closed in on him.

Donno’s stunt was intended to denounce plans to grant more autonomy from Rome to those regions that want it. Critics argue that it undermines Italy’s unity.

Italian lawmaker Leonardo Donno is held back after moving close to regional affairs minister Roberto Calderoli in Italy's Parliament in Rome, June 12, 2024, in an image capture from video.
Italian lawmaker Leonardo Donno is held back after moving close to regional affairs minister Roberto Calderoli in Italy’s Parliament in Rome, June 12, 2024, in an image capture from video.

Giuseppe Conte via Facebook via Reuters


In response, Calderoli’s fellow League deputies left their benches en masse to mob Donno, and the incident descended into a free-for-all involving some 20 men.

Donno, injured in the scuffles, had to be evacuated in a wheelchair before being sent to a hospital.

The brawl provoked a torrent of reactions from political leaders and made the front pages of the Italian newspapers. Many criticized the example set by the elected representatives.

“The squadrist right is fighting in parliament,” the newspaper La Repubblica lamented, using a term for the post-World War I paramilitary forces that went on to become fascist leader Benito Mussolini’s infamous Blackshirts.

Italy’s leading daily Corriere della Sera said the house had turned into a “boxing ring.”

Italian lawmakers fight in Italy's Parliament in Rome, June 12, 2024, in an image capture from video.
Italian lawmakers fight in Italy’s Parliament in Rome, June 12, 2024, in an image capture from video.

Giuseppe Conte via Facebook via Reuters


Lawmakers from the League and the Brothers of Italy, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s party, accused Donno of provoking the incident and even faking his injuries.

The Five Star Movement denounced a “serious and shameful attack” and called for immediate measures.

“Violence comes from the benches of the Meloni majority … Shame,” its leader, Giuseppe Conte, wrote on social media.

Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani acknowledged that lawmakers should hold themselves to a higher standard, telling Sky TG24 that politicians “have to set a completely different example.

“The chamber is not a boxing ring … it’s not fisticuffs that solve political problems.”

Critics say that the autonomy proposal will result in public services being cut back in the poorest regions.

The scenes in Parliament are by no means unprecedented.

In 2021, deputies from the Brothers of Italy — which has post-fascist roots — mobbed the center of the chamber to interrupt a debate on the COVID-19 health pass.



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