A male neo-Nazi went on a shooting rampage on February 6 in Macerata, Italy, wounding 6 African Immigrants in an act of racial hatred. The 28-year old attacker, Luca Traini, has a Nazi symbol called a Wolfsangel tattooed on his forehead. When he left his car after the attack, Traini made a fascist salute as he stood over the stairs of the city’s war memorial with the Italian flag draped over his shoulders. Traini did not resist when military officers proceeded to arrest him.
A year ago, Traini ran for local office as a candidate of the Northern League Party, a far-right political party.
The New York Times reported that Interior Minister Macro Minnit called the shooting an “evident display of racial hatred,” given that “the only element that links the persons who were injured is the color of their skin.”
According to the BBC, the attack shocked the people of Macerata, who were still processing the murder of 18-year-old Pamela Mastropietro. Pamela’s body was found dismembered and hidden in two suitcases by the police just one week before Luca’s Triani’s shooting rampage. The suspect in Pamela’s murder is a 29-year-old migrant Nigerian male. It is possible that her murder inspired Traini’s racist and violent attack.
Mastropietro’s murder was followed by protests, increased levels of racial tensions, and racism against immigrants.
According to the New York Times, Macerata Mayor Romano Carancini responded to allegations that Pamela’s death and the shootings are intertwined by stating that the connection “may not have been direct, but could be ascribable to the campaign of racial hatred that began after Pamela’s death.”
Immigration is a central issue in the upcoming Italian national elections. A number of right-wing politicians have used Pamela’s murder and the shootings to attempt to justify their anti-immigration platform. According to the Washington Post, Northern League leader Matteo Salving tweeted that the Nigerian man who is the suspect of Pamela’s murder “was not running from war; he brought war to Italy.” Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has suspended all campaigning based on Pamela’s death and on the shootings.
As fear rises, racial hatred and the political right are rising with it. According to Infoantifa Ecn, an Italian anti-fascist organisation, there have been 142 attacks by neo-fascist groups since 2014. The movie I’m Back, which discusses the imagined return of Benito Mussolini in 2018, is showing in Italian Cinemas. According to the New York Times, the director, Luca Maniero said, “Watching what is happening today in [Italy], I am convinced that if Mussolini came back, he would win the election.’’