Italy’s government passes new law against illegal raves, but left claims law threatens freedom

Italian police dismantle a rave party in an abandoned warehouse in Modena, Italy (MTI/EPA)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

One of the first things Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s coalition government did was to amend the penal code to crack down on the growing problem of illegal rave parties across the country. The left opposition, however, is now attacking the government claiming that the measure is a furtive way to curtail freedoms.

The amendment, which came into effect just as police were dismantling a rave party in Modena, raises the maximum penalty for unauthorized occupation of public spaces or buildings by over 50 people with three to six years in prison.

Using the new law, police forces declared the Modena rave party, held in a hangar, unauthorized. Authorities identified more than 1,300 people and 300 vehicles, seized technical equipment worth €150,000, and are prosecuting 14 organizers of the illegal rave.

The clampdown applies to events considered by law enforcement forces to be dangerous for the physical safety of participants or a threat to the public order. The organizers could face fines of between €1,000 and €10,000.

Enrico Letta, secretary general of the left-wing Democratic Party (PD), called the law, which he said restricted freedom of assembly, a Trojan horse that the right-wing government will use against trade union demonstrations and student protests.

In Italy, unauthorized occupation of educational institutions — universities and high schools — by students is a common occurrence and was tolerated by authorities in most cases.

However, these type of protests could now face serious legal consequences through the amendment of the law.

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