The Cuban artist Tania Bruguera has called on the Italian government to take action in the wake of a “fascist rally” that took place in Rome on 7 January. The rally was held in front of the former headquarters of a post-war neo-fascist party called the Italian Social Movement (MSI), which morphed into the Brothers of Italy party now led by the prime minister Giorgia Meloni.
According to Reuters, the event marked the 46th anniversary of the killing of three neo-fascists on Via Acca Larentia in southeast Rome. In the video, hundreds of men in lines can be seen making stiff-armed salutes and shouting "present" three times as an individual shouted "For all fallen comrades!"—a typical rallying cry at neo-fascist events.
In an Instagram post, Bruguera wrote that “the Italian government’s tepid response to incidents like this during the Acca Larentia commemoration is deeply concerning… the government’s attempt to justify the rise of fascism by minimising the power of a symbol to awaken powerful historical memories is ridiculous… this attitude undermines the anti-fascist spirit that should be intrinsic to Italian identity.” She adds: “It is crucial to take a clear and resolute stance against the resurgence of fascism through concrete values.”
Italy's deputy prime minister Antoni Tajani said in a news conference that “we’re a force that certainly isn’t fascist, we’re anti-fascist,” adding that under Italian law, supporting fascism is banned. All rallies “in support of dictatorships must be condemned”, he said. Meloni has not yet commented on the event.
Bruguera’s art and art actions have long interrogated censorship and what she considers to be authoritarian policies of the Cuban state. In January 2021, Bruguera, the journalist Mauricio Mendoza and many other artists and activists were arrested in Havana for their involvement in a protest at the ministry of culture. In August that year she left Cuba to take up the post of senior lecturer in media and performance at Harvard University in Massachusetts.