Despite condemnation, Milan hosts neo-Nazi bands


ROME (JTA) –  Hundreds of far-right extremists from several countries converged on Milan for a concert by skinhead and neo-Nazi bands.

Milan’s mayor and other political figures in the city and in Italy had condemned the event, which was held Saturday night.

Video and photos on the website of the La Repubblica newspaper showed youths with tattoos and shaven heads and wearing black T-shirts with skinhead and neo-Nazi slogans and logos gathered on the street.

Police patrolled the neighborhood, but reporters and photographers were barred from the venue in an outlying district of the city.

Bands and participants are believed to have come from Germany, France, Spain and other countries, as well as Italy. A group called Skinhouse Milano organized the event.

Earlier Saturday, Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia called the concert “unacceptable” and said “neither now nor in the future can Milan accept initiatives that draw on the repertoire of racial and political intolerance.”

Emanuele Fiano, a Jewish Parliament member from Milan, was among those who had called for the concert to be banned, but police authorities said the indoor event did not represent a threat to public order.

In another development, police in Milan earlier Saturday jailed a right-wing extremist for having sent a threatening message to the president of the Jewish community in Rome.

Mirko Viola had been sentenced in April to two years and eight months house arrest for his role in the neo-Nazi web forum Stormfront, whose Italian website also was ordered closed down. The conditions of Viola’s house arrest barred him from using the Internet.

According to the Italian media, police found that Viola had not only sent emails but also mailed a postcard to Rome Jewish community President Riccardo Pacifici with “threatening content.”

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