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Italian Premier Meloni rebukes the youth wing of her far-right party for glorifying fascism

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MILAN (AP) — Italian Premier Giorgia Melon i has admonished the youth wing of her far-right Brothers of Italy party after an Italian news outlet published videos showing some of its members glorifying fascism.

“I have said and repeated dozens of times, but perhaps I need to repeat it: There is no space in Brothers of Italy for racist or antisemitic positions, just as there is no space for nostalgics of totalitarianism of the 1900s, or for any other show of stupid folklore,’’ Meloni said in a letter to her party published by Italian media on Tuesday.

The online news outlet Fanpage released the videos last month filmed with a hidden camera by a journalist posing as an activist with Brothers of Italy’s youth wing. They showed members of the group praising the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, doing fascist salutes and yelling the Nazi cry “Sieg Heil.”

Meloni has decried the fascist regime’s anti-Jewish racial laws and the suppression of democracy, but critics have long said she has not done enough to distance herself from her party’s neo-fascist roots.

The Brothers of Italy has its origins in the Italian Social Movement, or MSI, which was founded in 1946 by former Mussolini officials and drew fascist sympathizers into its ranks. It remained a small far-right party until the 1990s, when it became the National Alliance and worked to distance itself from its neo-fascist past.

Meloni was a member of the youth branches of MSI and the National Alliance, and founded Brothers of Italy in 2012, keeping the tricolor flame symbol of the MSI in her party logo.

Liliana Segre, a 93-year-old senator for life and Holocaust survivor, told Italy’s La7 private television that such sentiments had always existed in Italy but that with the new far-right-led government “they don’t have shame in anything.”

She said the Nazi mottos had revived memories of being deported. “Now at my age, will I be forced from my country, as I was already once?”

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Corrects the Premier’s first name to Giorgia from Giorgio

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