ROME (AP) — Venice’s mayor says police are investigating an anti-Semitic attack in which youths punched a left-wing Italian politician in the city’s St. Mark’s Square.
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted Wednesday that fascist-like incidents like the one that happened on New Year’s Eve “won’t be tolerated” in Venice.
Arturo Scotto, a former lawmaker, was walking with his wife Tuesday night when eight youths yelled out, “Duce! Duce!” a reference to Italy’s World War II fascist leader Benito Mussolini. The youths then punched Scotto in the nose.
Scotto told Italian state TV that a young man who tried to help him was also beaten up. He said the youths also shouted disparaging remarks about Anne Frank, a young Jewish woman who perished in a Nazi death camp.
Brugnaro said police are examining surveillance videos to see if the culprits can be identified. Scotto said the attackers wore scarves to hide their faces.
Anti-Semitic incidents have been on the rise in Italy, as far-right political groups, including those with neo-fascist roots, gain traction in the country. Mussolini’s regime had propagated anti-Jewish laws in 1938.
The head of Rome’s Jewish community, Ruth Dureghello, expressed solidarity with Scotto, saying “one mustn’t give in to any form of anti-Semitism and racism.”