Coppa Italia: Lazio fans court controversy with Nazi salutes, pro-Benito Mussolini banner in Milan ahead of cup tie

Neo-fascists believed to be hardcore fans of Serie A side Lazio held a far-right flash mob ahead of the Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against AC Milan.

Agence France-Presse April 24, 2019 22:02:25 IST
Coppa Italia: Lazio fans court controversy with Nazi salutes, pro-Benito Mussolini banner in Milan ahead of cup tie
  • Neo-fascists believed to be hardcore fans of Serie A side Lazio held a far-right flash mob ahead of the Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against AC Milan.

  • Faces masked by a banner reading 'Honour to Benito Mussolini', the group sang fascist songs and performed the Nazi salute near the city's Piazza Loreto.

  • The flash mob came a day before Italy's Liberation Day, celebrating the end of Nazi occupation, and ahead of a match already marked by tension.

Rome: Neo-fascists believed to be hardcore fans of Serie A side Lazio held a far-right flash mob ahead of Wednesday's Coppa Italia semi-final second leg against AC Milan, according to media reports.

Their faces masked by a long banner reading "Honour to Benito Mussolini", the group sang fascist songs and performed the Nazi salute near the city's Piazza Loreto, where the defeated dictator's body was strung up in 1945, the Gazzetta dello Sport reported.

A short video circulating on social media shows the group holding up the banner, signed 'IRR' in a reference to the Irriducibili — Lazio's hardcore 'ultra' supporters who have a long history of hard-right politics.

The flash mob came a day before Italy's Liberation Day, celebrating the end of Nazi occupation, and ahead of a match in Milan already marked by tension between the two teams.

The Serie A clash between them at the San Siro earlier this month finished with Milan 1-0 winners and scuffles on the pitch after the home players held up the shirt of Lazio player Francesco Acerbi to their own fans like a trophy.

Milan midfielders Tiemoue Bakayoko and Franck Kessie were fined a total of 86,000 euros ($97,000) for the incident.

Meanwhile, a video of racist chants directed at Frenchman Bakayoko by a group of Lazio fans also circulated on social media.

Milan's mayor Giuseppe Sala said the police were investigating Wednesday's flash mob and insisted the northern Italian metropolis "is and will remain forever a profoundly anti-fascist city".

In Italy "apology for fascism" is a crime, but some cases have been thrown out in recent years on freedom of speech grounds.

February's first leg of the semi-final between the two sides at the Stadio Olimpico finished goalless.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Serie A: AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli prefers to focus on the present despite rumours of impending sacking
Sports

Serie A: AC Milan coach Stefano Pioli prefers to focus on the present despite rumours of impending sacking

Stefano Pioli said he was not thinking about the future after his side beat Serie A leaders Juventus on Tuesday amid widespread reports that he is set to be replaced by German Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season

Serie A: Stefano Pioli’s future at AC Milan uncertain despite putting club on right track
Sports

Serie A: Stefano Pioli’s future at AC Milan uncertain despite putting club on right track

Milan, who dropped to 14th in Serie A at one point this season, have lost only twice since the start of the year and climbed to sixth, putting them on course for a Europa League place which has become their target for this season.

Serie A: AC Milan could have won title if I played right from start of season, says Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Sports

Serie A: AC Milan could have won title if I played right from start of season, says Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic’s mere presence appears to have galvanized Milan, who last won the title in 2011. They have lost only twice since his arrival and climbed to fifth, having at one point dropped to 14th.