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On Saturday April 22, an estimated 10,000 people took to the streets of central Bologna in a defiant, noisy dance for the right to rave.
Labelled the ‘Smash Repression’ street rave, the parade was a stand against a bill passed by Italy’s coalition government, led by far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on December 30, 2022. Dubbed ‘decreto anti-rave’, the bill sees a draconian crackdown on unlicensed events, with organisers facing up to six years in prison under the new legislation.
“We just wanna go back to dancing,” the organisers said. “We have chosen the street as a place of protest – and dance! – to demonstrate that we do not accept the anti-rave law decree, nor the annihilation.”
Read this next: Unlicensed raves to be criminalised in Italy in new far-right government “crackdown”
Its organisers also aimed to create an inclusive event, with safe spaces where everyone felt comfortable to participate. “Through self-management we always create increasingly safe spaces for everyone by sharing transfeminist and anti-prohibitionist practices and we fight against patriarchal oppression,” they explained. “We claim the legitimacy of opening spaces of freedom and initiative and expression.”
The parade took place ahead of Italy’s Liberation Day, on April 25 – a celebration marking the fall of Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime. Around 100 police officers were present at the protest, but the proceedings went smoothly and peacefully, as people danced to the beat of 10 soundsystems.
Read this next: Thousands protest against planned ‘anti-rave’ laws in Italy
Other parts of the bill could see organisers have their communications wiretapped, and pursued by police if their actions are deemed suspicious. It comes after Meloni, the leader of the Brothers of Italy party, which has its origins in neo-fascism, was elected as Prime Minister in October. She has since tried to distance her party from its roots and has denounced aspects of Mussolini’s reign.
Take a look at some photographs from the ‘Smash Repression’ street rave parade below.
Isaac Muk is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins