European far right populists rally with Matteo Salvini in Milan

European far right populists rally with Matteo Salvini in Milan


European far right populists rally with Matteo Salvini in Milan Salvini and like minded politicians spell out their vision for Europe ahead of European Parliament elections. Milan, Italy On their way to the Piazza del Duomo, thousands of supporters of the League the party led by s far right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini – marched past a statue wearing a pink scarf on one of the citys ancient gates, Porta Venezia. The group, which included party supporters from across Italy and some delegations from elsewhere in the European Union, headed to the closing event of Salvinis campaign for elections, scheduled for May 23 26. Feminist activists had dressed statues across the city in pink and gold in protest. Joining Salvini on stage, far right and nationalist leaders and MPs from eleven countries spelled out their vision for Europe. They included Marine Le Pen of Frances Rassemblement Nationale, Geert Wilders of the anti Islam Dutch Party for Freedom, Jorg Meuthen of the anti migrant Alternative for Germany. Slovakia, Austria, Finland and Bulgaria were also represented, among others. Salvinis supporters chanted of “Italy is our home” and “free Italy” as well as “Europe is Christian, not Muslim,” and holding banners such as “close the ports” and “Italians first.” “There are no extremists, racists, or fascists here,” Salvini told the crowd during the rallys closing speech.  “The difference is between those who look ahead, who talk about future and jobs and who puts the past on trial: they are afraid of the past because they dont have an idea for the future. Were building the future.” Salvini told the crowd that the “Europe of common sense” was gathered in Milan to “free the continent from the illegal occupation orchestrated in Brussels”. The dream of Europes founding fathers, Salvini said, has been betrayed by the “Merkels, the Macrons, the Soros and the Junckers who built a Europe based on finance and uncontrolled migration”. Marine Le Pen, whose party is part of the same group as the League in the European Parliament, the Europe of Nations and Freedom, said this was an “historic moment”. “Our Europe is the daughter of Athens and Rome, of Christianity and the enlightenment,” the French politician told a cheering crowd. Jorg Meuthen from Germanys AFD explained the ideas behind this new “Europe of nations”. “We are not anti European as the mainstream always says. On the contrary, we are the true Europeans,” Meuthen said, adding that like minded parties across Europe were hoping to form a new front in the European Parliament. “We are the patriots of Europe and we choose freedom,” said Geert Wilders, after reminding the crowd that “we have to stop Islamisation.” The League entered the coalition with the Five Star Movement as a junior partner, but its popularity has surged since coming to power, and is now projected to win the European Parliament elections in Italy next week with around 30 percent of the vote. This would likely make the far right League the second largest party in the European Parliament after Angela Merkels Christian Democratic Union CDU . Since coming to power, Salvini has waged a against rescue NGOs in the Mediterranean and curbed asylum rights. But arrivals to Italy from war torn Libya had already slowed considerably after the previous centre left government helped establish a Libyan coastguard to pull migrants back. “Italians must come first. We pay tax, were citizens of this country and it is only right that a state must be given back to its citizens. Then to the others, but first to Italians,” Francesco Rienzo, a 30 year old lawyer at the rally told Al Jazeera. “We have borders and they must be respected.” Beginning its life as a secessionist party advocating for Northern Italys independence, under Salvini the League has refashioned itself with the slogan “Italians first,” winning the vote of Southern Italians who had previously been the subjects of the partys anti migrant rhetoric. Last April, Salvini launched a new pan European group in the European Parliament, the European Alliance of Peoples and Nations EAPN alongside Germanys AFD, with the aim of bringing all likeminded parties under one family after the elections.  the European Council on Foreign Relations, if parties loosely identified as right wing populists were to be successful in forming a united coalition, it would become the largest group in the European Parliament. But the think tank also said that 97 million voters across Europe remain undecided. Far right and nationalist parties have made strides across Europe since the last European Parliament elections in 2014, and are now in power in Italy, Poland, Hungary and Austria. In other countries, such as France, they are no longer relegated to the fringes. Analysts have pointed out that these parties are, however, divided both on the ideological and policy level. Northern and southern parties tend to hold different views on the EUs budget, while Russia is an issue that divides the ruling Law and Justice PiS party in Poland from Salvini and Le Pen who want a closer relationship with Putin. Viktor Orban, the Hungarian leader whose party has been suspended from the centre right EPP, was a notable absence at Saturdays rally. Nevertheless, when asked in a recent with the Atlantic who he believed is the “champion” of Europe, Orban responded without hesitation: “Matteo Salvini. He leads a large country. Europe can sanction a little country like Hungary. It wouldnt dare go after a country like Italy, with 60 million people. Moreover, Italy has a powerful voice. It is standing firm against the migrants—manning the front line.” At home, Orban has muzzled the press and civil society as well as starved migrants, making him the face of “illiberal democracy” in Europe. A small group of young demonstrators turned up in Duomo square with placards such as “human beings first” and “we were migrants too”, as well as “banners disturb public order in Italy, fascism doesnt.” They were soon surrounded by a cordon of police in riot gear, while getting a fair amount of insults from some of the rally participants. “I am not sure if police is here to protect us, seeing as they are facing us,” demonstrator Nicoletta dElia told Al Jazeera. “Im here because I disagree with Salvinis ideas, they are against everything I am as a woman from the south,” the 20 year old student said. Meanwhile, Milan mobilised against Salvinis rally with an art show and march organised by the feminist movement Non Una Di Meno “not one less” and anti racist groups, dubbed the “gala of the future.”  “The idea is to avoid that our future be highjacked by the right, especially because this rally we are opposing is international,”Selam Tesfai, one of the movements leaders told Al Jazeera. “These are people who thrive in propaganda, with an obscurantist vision,” she continued. “Were here united because on the one hand, [their vision] identifies as problems migration, change, and questioning some aspects of our society. On the other hand, attacking womens rights and strengthening the traditional family are two of the main pillars of their politics.” White bedsheets with protest messages were hung on balconies across the city. The “protest of the balconies” began when a woman in Brambate, Northern Italy, hung a banner from her home last Monday as Salvini was expected in town for an election rally. When the banner, which read “Youre not welcome,” was taken down by the local fire department, it sparked outrage with hundreds of people across Italy displaying similar messages in solidarity. SOURCE: Al Jazeera News More than 2,300 political parties have registered for the largest electoral exercise in the world. Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and a coalition of Arab states have launched more than 19,278 air raids across Yemen. No, it wasnt because of WMDs, democracy or Iraqi oil. The real reason is much more sinister than that. © 2018 Al Jazeera Media Network We use cookies to give you the best possible experience. about how we use cookies. By clicking Accept you agree to these cookies. To decline click here.

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