STA, 2 November 2018 - A neo-fascist rally scheduled to take place in Trieste, Italy on Saturday has raised concern in Slovenia, with fear being voiced in particular about the impact rising far-right sentiment will have on the Slovenian ethnic community living in the area.
Prime Minister Marjan Šarec described the rally by the far-right CasaPound as "salt on the never healed wounds of the Primorska Slovenians in the homeland and in the diaspora." "Fascism has always been evil incarnate, and it may not be supported!" he wrote on Twitter on Friday.
Tigr Primorske, an association dedicated to preserving the memory of a pre-WWII anti-fascist organisation called TIGR, has issued a call to President Borut Pahor to caution his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella about the possible instigation of hatred.
The Slovenian government, meanwhile, should let the Italian authorities and the EU know that the rally in Trieste "insults the emotions and the tradition of the resistance," thereby denying the very concept of post-war Europe, the organisation said in a press release on Friday.
The office of President Pahor said the president had already spoken up about some similar events in Italy, while also telling Mattarella during their last meeting that nationalist statements were being met with concern and opposition in Slovenia.
Mattarella will speak in Trieste on Sunday "and president Pahor expects that he will respond if needed," his office said.
Event celebrates “a crime and tragedy”
In a similar vein, the coalition Modern Centre Party (SMC) designated the scheduled rally as an event that should never happen because it celebrates an ideology that resulted in "crime and tragedy in the previous century."
"The centenary of the end of WWI should serve as an appeal to peace, coexistence and compassion, not as a reason for renewed glorification of chilling and dangerous ideas," the party said.
The appeals come in response to the rally by CasaPound, a far-right neo-fascist movement that has been gaining momentum in north Italy.
The local authorities have not banned the rally despite numerous appeals to do so, but they restricted the path of the march so that it does not come close to some of the landmarks that are significant for the Slovenian ethnic community, including the Narodni Dom and the monument to the Basovizza heroes.
Slovenian community warn of toxic atmosphere
The Slovenian community living in and around Trieste has recently warned that the atmosphere in Italy is so toxic it could not be ignored, with CasaPound by no means the only demonstration thereof.
The Slovenian Cultural and Economic Union (SKGZ), one of the minority's biggest organisations in Italy, said earlier this week it was no longer possible to look the other way.
To counter the CasaPound rally, several anti-fascist organisations have announced a counter-rally in Trieste that is expected to draw several thousand people. Many members of the Slovenian community in Trieste are expected to to attend the counter-protest.