24 investigated in Italy for promoting fascism at a gathering in Ferrara’s Jewish quarter

MILAN (AP) — Italian police on Wednesday raided the homes of 24 people under investigation for promoting fascism during a gathering at a restaurant in the Jewish quarter of Ferrara during which they lauded dictators Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.

The suspects were all residents of the northern Italian city in their 20s and 30s who attended a Dec. 20 gathering where they passed out material that not only praised Hitler and Mussolini, but also insulted Anne Frank and the Black Italian athlete Fiona May, said investigator Andrea Zaccone. The suspects wore orange prison uniforms common in the United States to the gathering, but it wasn’t clear why.

The group threatened to kill other diners who interrupted their racist choruses, and refused to stop even after police responded to complaints, he said.

The suspects are under investigation for the charges of inciting racial hatred and apology of fascism, a crime in Italy that exults Italy’s fascist past and seeks to revive the fascist party.

During raids, police recovered orange prison uniforms, a fake pistol, chains, knives, batons as well as printed material, including calendars, with Mussolini’s image. Electronic devices seized in the raids are being studied to see if the incident was a one-off or part of a larger pattern.

Antisemitic incidents have spiked in Italy since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in Israel and the resulting war in Gaza.

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