Italy: rightists call on government to resign
Protests against the government's crisis management led by right-wing parties took place in Rome and other Italian cities on Italy's Republic Day. As with rallies in other countries, those taking part were a heterogeneous crowd including citizens suffering from the economic effects of the pandemic, supporters of conspiracy theories and anti-vaccine activists. How powerful is the movement?
Totally outdated populism
The protest looked like something from the past, writes columnist Massimo Franco in Corriere della Sera:
“The goal of giving a voice to forgotten Italy, of channelling the anger and fear of the economic crisis, is in itself a worthy one. It could also serve as an incentive for an executive that is hesitating to find a common vision. ... But one has the feeling that the unease is neither channelled nor directed by the opposition. Rather it is being stirred up and instrumentalised in a fruitless controversy. Especially when the opposition refuses to admit that substantial help is indeed coming from 'outside', namely from Europe. ... Thus the protests seem to belong to a different era: a 'historical' self-referential populism that has been overtaken by the drama of the Covid-19 virus.”
Get the money to the right people fast
Whether the protests gain in momentum depends above all on the EU, warns Oliver Meiler, Italy correspondent for the Süddeutsche Zeitung:
“It won't take much for hundreds to become thousands. Even the extreme, extra-parliamentary right is lining up. ... That's why it's important to help all those Italians who have lost their jobs and income and whose livelihood is under threat because of coronavirus. There is enough money to do this, both our own and that of the European Union. It just needs to get to the right people, and as soon as possible. Otherwise the resentment threatens to explode.”