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Right-wing extremists meet in Milan

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ROME (JTA) — Parts of downtown Milan were sealed off as hundreds of right-wing extremists from Italy and several other countries gathered for a convention.

At least 300 to 500 people attended Sunday’s meeting, called "Our Europe, Peoples and Tradition against Banks and Strong Powers," organized by Italy’s ultra-right-wing Forza Nuova party. Participants included skinheads and other youths who gave the fascist salute and sported Celtic crosses, a symbol of the extreme right.

More than 1,000 demonstrators held a counter-demonstration in a nearby plaza. Police kept the two groups separate and no incidents were reported.

Jewish leaders and others had protested the Forza Nuova convention, and Forza Nuova scaled back some of the convention events.

Renzo Gattegna, president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, warned Friday that the meeting was "dangerous on the ideological and political planes" and an event where "racist and xenophobic inspiration is not denied but exalted." He said the initiative constitutes "a real challenge against the democratic foundations of the Italian state."

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