Italy’s Northern League, once a separatist political party wanting to split from the rest of Italy, has now dropped the separatism and is instead trying to ride the far-right nationalistic wave that seems to be sweeping up electors everywhere.
But not in Naples. People here have not forgotten that until relatively recently the Northern League’s leader, Matteo Salvini, used the xenophobic language he now applies to immigrants to people from the south.
Salvini is attempting to hold a rally in Naples as he seeks to broaden his party’s base beyond the north, but he has been met with stiff resistance, with the wife of Naples’ mayor leading the peaceful protests.
Naples’ ultra football fans have been leading the more noisy protests, and radicals occupied the city hall where Salvini was set to speak.
Rome has ordered that the League’s democratic right to campaign be respected, but the city council wants none of it, and this refusal to obey could open Naples council to legal action by the Northern League.