Italy braces for anti-fascist and far-right protests

Italian far-right party Lega Nord’s (Northern League) supporters hold a banner reading “Salvini Prime Minister” as they take part in a campaign rally in Milan on Feb. 24, 2018 ahead of Italy’s general election. (AFP)
Updated 24 February 2018
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Italy braces for anti-fascist and far-right protests

ROME: Italy stepped up security for mass demonstrations by far-right and anti-fascist groups across the country on Saturday as tensions rise ahead of next week’s general election.
There has been a dramatic increase of violent clashes between anti-fascist and far-right activists in recent weeks, particularly after a racially motivated attack on Feb. 3 by a far-right gunman in the central city of Macerata that left six African migrants wounded.
Three thousand police were mobilized in Rome on Saturday for two marches and three “sit-ins” by both left and right groups likely to draw up to 20,000 people.
Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi was expected to attend the largest demonstration in Italy’s capital, organized by the National Association of Italian Partisans (ANPI), under the slogan “Fascism Never Again.”
Another anti-fascist protest in Rome, organized by a left-wing union, will rail against the Jobs Act, a flagship reform of Renzi’s government. One of the sit-ins will be hosted by Giorgia Meloni, head of the far-right Brothers of Italy party.
Roberto Fiore, head of the extreme-right Forza Nuova group, will march in Palermo, Sicily, after one of his party’s activists was beaten up by men wearing masks there on Tuesday.
The far-left Potere al Popolo movement will also hold a rally in Palermo.
Matteo Salvini, the head of The League, will attend a demonstration in Milan. The far-right group formerly known as the Northern League is part of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition, along with Brothers of Italy.
The far-right CasaPound movement will also march in Milan.
Yet another demonstration will be held in Brescia, northern Italy, where an ANPI social center was torched on Thursday night.
On the same day three police officers were injured after clashes with anti-fascist protesters demonstrating against a CasaPound meeting in the northwestern city of Turin.
The spike in violence comes amid fears of a revival of far-right parties in the Mar. 4 election.
An average of the last major polls suggested Berlusconi’s right-wing coalition could finish on top, but fail to achieve a parliamentary majority.


Canadian court frees Chinese Huawei executive

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's chief financial officer (CFO), is seen in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters December 6, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 12 December 2018
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Canadian court frees Chinese Huawei executive

  • A Canadian citizen has been detained in China, Canada said on Tuesday

VANCOUVER/BEIJING: A Canadian court on Tuesday granted bail to a top executive of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. while she awaits a hearing for extradition to the United States, a move that could help placate Chinese officials angered by her arrest.
Meng Wanzhou, 46, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder, faces US accusations that she misled multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions.
Justice William Ehrcke at a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday granted bail to Meng, subject to a guarantee of C$10 million ($7.5 million) and other conditions.
China had threatened severe consequences unless Canada released Meng immediately.
A Canadian citizen has been detained in China, Canada said on Tuesday. The Canadian government said it saw no explicit link to the Huawei case, but analysts had predicted retaliation from Beijing. Two sources told Reuters the person detained was former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, who now works for a think tank.
Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada’s former ambassador to China, asked by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. whether the Kovrig detention was a coincidence, said: “In China there are no coincidences ... If they want to send you a message they will send you a message.”
Meng was detained as part of a US investigation on Dec. 1 as she was changing planes in Vancouver. ($1 = 1.3317 Canadian dollars)