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'Sardines' movement in Bologna, Italy hopes to block far-right

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'Sardines' movement in Bologna, Italy hopes to block far-right
Copyright  Max Cavallari/LaPresse via AP   -   Max Cavallari/LaPresse
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Thousands of protesters gathered in Bologna in northern Italy ahead of a regional vote on January 26.

They are part of a "sardines" movement - named for packing many demonstrators into city squares - and were demonstrating against far-right leader Matteo Salvini.

The group was formed by four strangers in the city last November to fight Salvini's anti-immigration message.

Organisers said around 30,000 to 40,000 people turned up but these figures haven't been confirmed by authorities.

Their posters read "Solidarity, Welcome, Respect, Rights, Inclusion, Non-Violence, Anti-Fascism".

On Saturday in Maranello, Salvini held a rally with Lega candidate Lucia Borgonzoni.

Some polls show close margins between Salvini's League party and the current centre-left government whilst others show the divide is wide favouring Salvini.

The former interior minister hopes to bring down the Five-Star Movement after it won the largest vote in national elections two years ago.