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Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Tens of thousands anti-populist 'Sardines' fill Roman square

The movement born last month with a spontaneous rally in Bologna focuses on 'inclusive' social laws and pro-migration and pro-environment measures

AP , Saturday 14 Dec 2019
A demonstrator shows a sardine-shaped banner
A demonstrator shows a sardine-shaped banner reading "Sardines of the world unite" during a gathering in St. John at the Lateran Square of the "Sardines", an Italian grass-roots movement against right-wing populism, in central Rome, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. (Photo:AP)
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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.
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