Italian politics is in uproar, with one of its most controversial figures accused of insulting the state.
The national anthem says Italy is the “slave of Rome.” But the leader of the separatist Northern League, Umberto Bossi, made it clear his movement would never bend the knee to Rome, by raising his hand with the middle finger extended.
Bossi is Reforms Minister in Silvio Berlusconi’s government. He said his supporters would fight what he called the fascist state, and the time had come for war. The League is unhappy with the rich north propping up Italy’s poorer south. Bossi said that even southern teachers should be banned from northern schools.
His words sparked criticism: the National Alliance said it would refuse to work with the League if it continued to insult the state.