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Italy: Police raid white supremacist group

Amanda Rivkin
May 20, 2021

Raids against the far-right group took place across Italy. Investigators seized Nazi and Benito Mussolini memorabilia as well as weapons.

An Italian police handout photo shows weapons, Nazi flags and a picture of dictator Benito Mussolini
A police handout shows weapons, a Nazi flag and a picture of dictator Benito Mussolini that were uncovered in raidsImage: Polizia di Stato via Reuters

Italian police targeted 25 homes across 18 regions of Italy on Thursday, belonging to suspected members of the far-right, white supremacist "Last Legion" group.

The group, whose members self-identify as "fascists," are accused of spreading hate against religious minorities online, authorities said in a statement.

What did police find?

Authorities seized weapons during the raids — including knives, ammunition and guns, according to a statement by the Italian national police.

No arrests took place, but two members of the group were being investigated for possessing unregistered weapons.

Far-right memorabilia such as Nazi flags and pictures of dictator Benito Mussolini were also seized by police.

Spreading hate in chat groups

Police began investigating Last Legion in 2019, monitoring their chats.

One such message read: "I always have rings on my fingers and a truncheon with me. Now I also have a machete."

Italy's largest mafia trial to begin

Members of Last Legion are accused of promoting political violence and discrimination based on racial, religious and ethnic grounds, authorities said.

Muslim and Jewish people as well as members of the LGBT+ community were specifically targeted in the group's messages on WhatsApp, Telegram and the Russian social networking site, VKontakte.

Photos, videos and symbols of the far-right and Nazi groups were often exchanged in Last Legion chat groups which police allege were also used as an online recruitment tool.

Eugenio Spina, the head of the Italian police branch in charge of countering terrorism and extremism, told Reuters the group was seeking to build a new fascist party.

This article was written in part with material from Reuters news agency.