Italy celebrates Liberation Day amid political confrontations
Italy celebrated on Sunday the 65th Liberation Day amid political confrontations that embittered the national festivity, Xinhua reported.
The Liberation Day marks the end of the Second World War in Italy, when the country was finally freed in April 1945 from the Nazi occupants through the joint efforts of the Allies and several military groups of native Italian combatants defined as the " Partisans," who brought forth a strong resistance.
The institutional authorities and armed forces took part in numerous parades across the country, broadcast by national television Rai.
The Italian head of state, Giorgio Napolitano, placed a crown of laurel at the Altar of the Fatherland in Rome, where the symbolic grave of the Unknown Soldier lies. The gesture honored all the anonymous or unnamed victims of the war.
In a solemn speech, Napolitano urged national unity and dialogue between the country's political forces. "The April 25 celebration belongs to all Italians, it represents our national identity," he said. "We must enjoy it as a moment of peace and serenity."
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi also appealed to all political parties, saying time has come to "write together a new page of our democracy and country" in order to heal the historical wounds of the past and "create the Italy of the future through new reforms."
The celebrations, however, were marred by the usual political tensions between the right and the left, which in some areas turned into violent acts.
The center-right governor of the Latium region, Renata Polverini and the center-left president of Rome's province, Nicola Zingaretti were verbally attacked and booed by a group of protesters, who threw at them fruits, coins and eggs at a ceremony at St. Paul's Door, where the Allies marched into Rome in April 1945.
Both Polverini and Zingaretti, unable to deliver their speeches, were forced to abandon the site.
In Milan there was a similar atmosphere of tension. The center- right mayor, Letizia Moratti, was contested and booed by several demonstrators at a parade featuring more than 50,000 people.
The Liberation Day celebration traditionally highlights political differences in the country.
While left-wing activists consider the festivity as belonging exclusively to them, some extreme rightists with Fascist nostalgia tend to use the day as an occasion to challenge the leftist camp.