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December 8, 2019
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Italian neo-Nazis want to co-opt the legacy of Czechoslovak who set himself on fire to protest the '68 invasion

4.1.2019 15:53
Jan Palach was the Charles University student who set himself on fire on 16 January 1969 to protest the end of the Prague Spring after the August 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact armies. A copy of his death mask is now the centerpiece of the Jan Palach memorial on Charles University's Faculty of Arts building on Jan Palach Square in Prague.  (Collage:  Romea.cz)
Jan Palach was the Charles University student who set himself on fire on 16 January 1969 to protest the end of the Prague Spring after the August 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact armies. A copy of his death mask is now the centerpiece of the Jan Palach memorial on Charles University's Faculty of Arts building on Jan Palach Square in Prague. (Collage: Romea.cz)

A concert by neo-Nazi bands dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the death of Jan Palach will be held in Verona, Italy under the auspices of the provincial authorities there. The date of the concert is 19 January, the day Palach died after setting himself on fire in 1969 to protest the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.

La Repubblica reported on the plans at the close of December and warned that some parts of the Italian ultra-right have been attempting for some time to co-opt the legacy of Palach "culturally and politically". Andrea Bacciga, a local Verona assembly member, issued a press release about the province's auspices for the concert.

Bacciga drew attention to himself last summer when he gave the Fascist salute to feminists from a movement called "Non una di meno" (Not One More), which campaigns against violence against women and at the time was protesting a motion to abolish a law that grants women the right to abortion. The concert for Palach will be part of an event called "Soil and Freedom".

The bands scheduled to perform, such as Compagnia dell'agnello, Hobbit and Topi Neri, are some of the most popular among neo-Nazi skinheads and ultra-right circles, according to La Repubblica. Bacciga is close to the neo-Nazi group Fortezza Europa, the Italian daily reports.

"Neo-Fascist groups have for some time attempted to co-opt the figure of Palach 'culturally' and 'politically', to the surprise of the left, who are protesting this," La Repubblica reported. The ultra-right has been exploiting Palach's legacy in articles celebrating him, during their meetings, and in their various publications, according to the daily.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Extremism, Italy, Koncert, neo-Fascism



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