The inclusion of Azov Battalion supporters into this year’s march commemorating the end of fascism in Italy sparked local resistance and international outrage, but little pushback from organizers.
Tensions boiled over in Milan Monday after a contingent of Ukrainian regime supporters–bearing NATO flags and posters with the neo-Nazi emblem of the notorious Azov Batallion–was permitted to participate in the annual Liberation Day march commemorating the defeat of fascism in Italy. Video from a local source shows a group of angry onlookers hurl expletives at the ‘Nazi sympathizers’ and break into a chant:
“Fuck the nazis!”
Italians react with fury at the inclusion of Azov nazis and NATO flags in Milan’s 77th Liberation Day parade yesterday commemorating the defeat of fascism.
They chant: “get NATO out / of the march!”pic.twitter.com/xHImpraRnl
— Wyatt Reed (@wyattreed13) April 26, 2022
Ukrainian flags have been a frequent feature of Liberation Day celebrations across Italy this week, in spite of widespread and enthusiastic collaboration by Ukrainian nationalists with the Third Reich which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Jews and Poles.
Many among the procession in Milan were seemingly unaware of the Azov Battalion’s Nazi predilections, reports suggest. And those that did apparently had few qualms about sharing an anti-fascist march with people waving fascist symbols–of which the Azov’s Battalion’s black sun/wolfsangel design is almost exclusively comprised.
Instead, authorities invited Iryna Yarmolenko, a city councilor from Bucha, to deliver a speech in English in which the young politician opened with the words of Italian anti-fascist anthem Bella Ciao.
“I am a partisan as in your song,” she claimed, before accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of having “ruined the most beautiful period of peace there has ever been in Europe.” Another speaker, Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala, reportedly told journalists he favors sending weapons to Ukrainian regime.
The only dissenting voice reportedly came from Maurizio Landini, Secretary General of the Italian General Confederation of Labor, the country’s most powerful trade union. In response to ongoing Russian special operations in Ukraine, Landini said “I do not agree that… the answer is to rearm the whole world.”