Macerata, from Migrant welcoming to Right-Wing Politics

Macerata once had a reputation for tolerance. But the killing of a woman and a revenge shooting made the Italian town a symbol of rising right-wing politics.

Macerata, from Migrant welcoming to Right-Wing Politics

At the end of his shooting rampage as the police closed in, Luca Traini climbed the steps of a Fascist-era monument, wrapped himself in an Italian flag and straightened his arm in a Fascist salute.

He had shot and wounded six African migrants in this medieval city near the Adriatic Sea to avenge the dismemberment of a young Italian woman, allegedly by a Nigerian drug dealer. In his mind, he was a patriot.

But to Italian leaders, liberals and anti-fascist groups, Mr. Traini was a terrifying omen.

National elections were weeks away and the Feb. 3 shootings came during a hate-laced campaign marred by anti-migrant language, rising intolerance and hints of a Fascist revival.

At the height of the migrant crisis, Italy had been a progressive bastion and a staunch supporter of European unity. But now, the national mood had hardened. Mr. Traini’s rage crystallized, in grotesque form, the growing backlash against migrants and the rise of right-wing politics.

The March 4 elections swept in a new populist government which is deeply skeptical of the European Union and has already slammed the door to new migrants while threatening to expel the ones already in the country. To some in Brussels, Italy is now Europe’s greatest existential threat.

“Within one year, we will see if united Europe still exists,” Matteo Salvini, the country’s new interior minister, said recently.

Mr. Salvini is now Italy’s most turbulent and powerful force. More than anyone, he understood and harnessed the rage unleashed in Macerata.

Often scoffed at for its wobbly governments and disregarded as a mere pleasuredome, Italy has long been Europe’s laboratory for political change. The birthplace of Fascism, Italy gave the world Mussolini, flirted seriously with communism, and, in electing Silvio Berlusconi, provided a playbook for billionaires seeking power the world over.

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Temmuz 2018, 10:28