Mussolini’s militia used the Roman fasces symbol — a bundle of rods bound with an axe
Fasces symbol (Wikipedia): The fasces in the United States
A neo-Fascist group that claims it has thousands of recruits has announced plans to start anti-crime foot patrols on the streets of Milan.
The resemblance between their outfits and those of Benito Mussolini’s Blackshirts has triggered a judicial inquiry.
The Italian National Guard says that it has 2,500 recruits. It claims that a third are drawn from former members of the police and Armed Forces.
The Guard revealed its oufits and kit in Milan at the weekend: khaki shirts with armbands bearing the Nazi symbol of the Black Sun, black belts and shoulder straps, black ties, heavy black boots and military style caps decorated with the eagle, symbol of the Roman Empire. They are also equipped with black helmets, black gloves and torches.
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Milan prosecutors yesterday opened an inquiry into the Guard, which has been dubbed “the Black Patrols” because of its Fascist-style insignia and uniforms. Fascist and Nazi symbols and slogans are forbidden in Italy under laws passed after the Second World War and the fall of the Fascist dictatorship of Mussolini. Maurizio Monti, deputy head of the Guard, said that the organisation was properly registered. “We do not believe we have committed any crime.”
A law allowing for local patrols to help police to combat street crime is in its final stages in parliament. Patrols have, however, already begun to operate in Italian cities, some organised by the anti-immigrant Northern League, a key ally in the ruling centre-right coalition of Silvio Berlusconi.
Gaetano Saya, the leader of the Guard, is already under investigation for allegedly disseminating racial hatred. He told Corriere della Sera that the Guard was based on the Roman legions. He said that he had taken his cue from Mr Berlusconi’s recent remark that Italy was not and should not be a “multi-ethnic society”.
Read moreNeo-Fascist ‘Blackshirts’ fear prompts inquiry into Italian National Guard