Tens of thousands of members of the Italian anti-populist Sardines movement gathered in Rome on Saturday for their first national rally, as people said disillusionment with traditional politics drew them to the fast-growing new group.
The movement born last month with a spontaneous rally in Bologna focuses on “inclusive” social laws and pro-migration and pro-environment measures.
Its founders say they have no ambitions to become a political party, but the Sardines have become a strong adversary for Matteo Salvini, the right-wing leader of the League, Italy’s largest political party.
“We’ve filled the piazza. Mission accomplished,” one founder, Mattia Santori, told the crowd.
Protesters held sardine-shaped banners and chanted the traditional anti-fascist song Bella Ciao.
“It’s a spontaneous demonstration that aims to change this society, with all the consequences that this brings,” said protester Daniela Mazzeo.
Fund our Investigations Unit
You can help us investigate corruption, expose injustice and uncover the truth.
As one of the only independent investigations units in the country, we work for you – but we need your help to keep going. We need to raise £10,000 to continue our groundbreaking investigations. Can you chip in?