The Italian government has stated that it will be stepping up security and calling in army battalions ahead of local elections on Sunday due to fears of an increase in what the country’s interior minister describes as “political violence”.
Lurking in the shadows at the wings of politics are the extremists, Groups and organisations that prey on the fears of disenchanted and desperate people.
Now, thanks to the Euro crisis these insidious groups are on the rise. In Greece the far right Fascists of the Golden Dawn won seats in the recent elections raising fears that the days of Nazism could return to Europe. Many nations are home to far right groups that preach hate against foreigners and ethnic minority groups. It is a well known fact that Golden dawn members have been responsible for violent attacks against tourists and immigrants.
The terrible state of the Greek economy, its corrupt leaders and high unemployment has sent many disenchanted voters into the arms of the fascists. The people are desperate for a way out of their troubles and with the moderate parties unable to come up with a solution, anger builds. The extremist groups promise a return to the glory days, where the country comes first and corruption will be stamped out under an iron boot.
Noble sounding promises, but as history has proven they are often promises soaked in blood. Greece is also seeing an emerging dominance of the left with socialist parties winning the most votes in the election. They may not be preaching hate but the left can prove to be just as dangerous.
Whereas Greece is seeing an encroachment of the extreme right, Italy is seeing a re-emergence of the extreme left. Harking back to the dark days of the 1970’s and its ‘years of Lead’ the Italian government is seeing a rise in the number of militant actions. Tax collectors have been threatened, offices burned, politicians threatened and an attempted assassination of a prominent businessman have all added to the atmosphere of fear. The ‘Years of Lead’ were marked by violence and terror by far-left activists on the Italian political, military and industrial establishment.
A group named the Informal Anarchist Federation claimed responsibility for a string of letter bombs in a message to an Italian newspaper. It also said it was behind the attack on the CEO of an Italian nuclear engineering company, who was shot in the leg as he left his home in the port city of Genoa earlier in May. Ominously the group has pledged to strike seven more times.
The Informal Anarchist Federation is believed to be a structure of various anarchist terrorist groups, united in their beliefs in revolutionary armed actions against the current European order, which they see as an oppressive authority.
The harsh austerity measures and the imposing of a technocratic government has seen public anger rise to dangerous levels. Suicide rates are on a sharp increase as desperate people see no way out from their financial woes. Into this mix come the extremists knowing full well that now is the perfect opportunity to swell their ranks.
Around 400 government buildings, including tax offices are having their security upgraded. It remains to be seen whether further violence will occur, but it is a certainty that for as long as the Euro crisis lasts the threat from extremists will continue to rise.