Italy: "Sardines" against Salvini – News World: Europe


A cardboard fish around his neck or taped in the back, the irony as an antidote to xenophobia, careful not to be recovered by political parties: in recent days, appearances of Matteo Salvini are disrupted by thousands of opponents who put themselves under the sign of sardine. A funny name for a funny movement. "To anathemas full of hatred of the League, we respond with the silence of the fish, but the silence of a huge school of fish, so many that we are forced to be tight like … sardines," says the Facebook page of movement.

The "sardines" made a sensational debut on the Italian scene in Bologna on November 14, the date of the beginning of the electoral campaign for the regional elections in Emilia-Romagna, which will take place on January 26. An election that could pave the way for the return of Matteo Salvini to power. Emilia-Romagna is indeed a historic bastion of the left. However, while the polls provide a head-to-head between the candidate of the League and that of the PD, all observers predict that a defeat of the left in his stronghold would cause an implosion of the PD, the end of the alliance with the 5-star Movement, the fall of the Conte 2 government and Salvini's victory in early elections. On November 14, the "captain" had wanted to strike a blow by filling the 5700 seats of the sports palace of the city with two towers.

He had badly done his accounts. While the ranks of the sports hall were empty, it was on the place Maggiore that wrote the story. Despite the cold, 12,000 people had responded to the flashmob summoned on social networks by four strangers under 30 and without any political militancy: Mattia, Roberto, Andrea and Giulia. "I've never had a party card, but I'm here to prevent the return of fascism," said a senior sardine that evening. "Italians have to wake up and fight racism, do what parties are not able to do," echoed a young girl before singing "Bella ciao".

Two days later, the same scenario occurs in Modena, where 6000 "sardines" meet in the rain place Mazzini, compelling Matteo Salvini to cancel its meeting and to take refuge with a few dozen activists … in a restaurant.

And the movement is spreading throughout the peninsula. His Facebook page has grown from 965 likes to 46,000 in four days. In Reggio, Parma, Rimini, but also Florence, Rome, Naples and Palermo, committees of "sardines" are born to demonstrate in a good mood against the next coming of the sovereignist leader. The league campaign is in turmoil.

The forces of the majority had seen nothing coming. If the PD now counts on "sardines" to keep Emilia Romagna, their success shows how old the party is cut off from its base. The 5-star movement wonders because it was born too, ten years ago, on the flashmobs of Beppe Grillo. The "sardines" of today could be largely "Grillini" yesterday disappointed by the evolution of the M5S.

The "sardines" themselves are overwhelmed by their success. "Check your profiles on social networks, change your passwords, be careful with the interviews because your privacy will be devastated," wrote to their emulators the first four musketeers of Bologna.

It remains to be seen if the flashmobs of "sardines" will turn into votes. A similar movement, "les rondes", was born in 2002 to protest against Berlusconi. He had not prevented the victory of the "Cavaliere". "It is the limit of the movements that are born against something, explains the columnist of" Corriere della Sera "Antonio Polito. They provoke a strong mobilization without necessarily creating a consensus in favor of an alternative party or alliance. "

Created: 20.11.2019, 18:03

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