Supporters of the far-right Forza Nuova (FN) party marched up to the Sapienza University in Rome, to protest against former pro-refugee mayor of Riace, Domenico 'Mimmo' Lucano, who was supposed to give a lecture in front of students.
The protesters shouted anti-refugee slogans, and held numerous party flags and banners denouncing Lucano as the 'enemy of Italy'.
Addressing the attendees, Forza... Еще Nuova President Roberto Fiore said, «He is speaking today to university students in Rome. He is giving a masterclass on how he managed to marry 80-year-old Calabrian citizens with African women, on how he has destroyed his city, despite having received hundreds of thousands of funds.»
«It is a shame that immigration is constantly justified from the most important powers of the Vatican. The only objective is the profit,» he added.
A counter-protest was organised by the students of the university, drawing hundreds of people to voice out their support for Lucano. Heavy police presence ensured that the opposing rallies were kept far from one another. Lucano was arrested in October 2018 for allegedly helping illegal immigrants to stay in Italy by arranging marriages of convenience with Italians, but these charges were later dropped. In April 2019 he was charged, along with 26 other people, in connection with allegations that they helped people whose asylum applications had been rejected remain in Italy.