Speed Reads

Shades of World War II

Thousands commemorate Mussolini's rise as far-right sentiments continue to sweep across Europe

As far-right political parties continue to gain traction in countries across Europe, thousands of Italians on Sunday marched to the crypt of Benito Mussolini in celebration of the fascist Italian dictator, The Associated Press reported

The crowd, estimated at between 2,000 and 4,000 people, descended on Mussolini's final resting place in the town of Predappio. Many within the crowd could be seen with fascist symbols and flags, and were reportedly heard singing Italian colonial-era hymns. The crowd had gathered to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the March on Rome, in which members of the National Fascist Party overran the Italian capital and forced the nation's king to hand total power to Mussolini. 

While Mussolini is often considered among the 20th century's most brutal despots, the march on his grave mirrors the rise in far-right and neo-fascist movements that have been seen both in Italy and across Europe. 

Far-right movements have been gaining significant traction even in long-held liberal countries such as Sweden. Italy itself recently saw a return to far-right control for the first time since the Mussolini era, following the election of Giorgia Meloni as its next prime minister. Meloni's far-right Brothers of Italy party evolved from post-World War II fascist sentiments.

However, not everyone in Italy appeared to welcome the far-right groups with open arms. Prior to the march on Mussolini's grave, nearly 1,000 anti-fascist activists reportedly celebrated Italy's 1944 liberation in a massive rally on Friday.