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Italy's young 'sardines' march against far-right

2019-12-01 HKT 04:25
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  • Protesters gathered in Florence in protest against the Italian government. Photo: AP
    Protesters gathered in Florence in protest against the Italian government. Photo: AP
Tens of thousands rallied in Florence in Italy on Saturday against the far-right League party, the latest in a series of demonstrations called by the new, youth-driven "Sardine Movement".

The sardine has become a symbol of protest against the far-right firebrand leader Matteo Salvini, who served as interior minister and deputy prime minister in the previous coalition government with the Five Star Movement.

Students, young professionals and families with children joined the march, where the carrying of political banners was discouraged.

Demonstrators gathered in the city's Piazza della Repubblica sang the anti-fascist song "Bella Ciao" and shouted "Every sardine has the right to exist!"

Organisers claimed that 40,000 people had turned out to the Florence protest, which they said was substantially more than the 15,000 they claim attended their first rally, just two weeks earlier.

The new movement has staged around 10 demonstrations over the past 15 days in the north of the country. Instead of the usual banners from political groups, protesters brandished placards in the shape of a sardine.

"No banners, we don't want symbols at such a beautiful gathering," one of the organisers, Danilo Magli, told the crowd.

"We are tired of hate, we are not fighting amongst ourselves," he added.

The Sardine Movement was founded on November 14 by four hitherto unknown young activists from the northern city of Bologna in protest against Salvini's politics.

"We think the ideas propagated by the League are unacceptable," Paolo Ranzani, a photographer with the Sardine Movement, said on Facebook. (AFP)