The city of Rome has reacted with outrage after a coffin was draped in a Nazi flag at the funeral of a far-right extremist.
Outrage was sparked in the diocese of Rome, headed by Pope Francisco, due to the celebration of a funeral at the parish of Santa Lucia where the coffin was draped in a Nazi flag.
According to a statement from the vicariate of the Roman diocese, the flag, which they defined as a “horrendous symbol”, was placed over the coffin outside the church when the funeral had finished. The deceased, Alessia Augello, was a well-known militant from the far-right party Forza Nova and her funeral was attended by large numbers of neo-Nazis who performed the fascist salute.
The presence of the flag caused indignation in the Catholic and Jewish communities of Rome, and also among the political parties and social organisations in the city.
In response to the outrage, the family of the deceased condemned the presence of the Nazi flag at the funeral, insisting that it had been done spontaneously. In a statement on Facebook, the extremist’s aunt stated that “we fully distance ourselves from what happened outside the church”.
She said that they did not know that anyone had the intention of displaying the flag, and claimed that “not even Alessia would have shared or appreciated the gesture in any way”. “We would neither have allowed nor authorised what happened,” she insisted.
The vicariate of Rome also condemned the incident. They explained that “on Monday, January 10, at 2:30 p.m., at the parish of Santa Lucia, a funeral was held. When it finished, outside the parish church, a group of people covered the coffin with a flag with the Nazi swastika, a horrendous symbol irreconcilable with Christianity”.
The event has especially enraged the Jewish community in Rome, one of the oldest in Europe. “It is unacceptable that the flag with the swastika can be displayed in public in this day and age, especially in a city that saw the deportation of its Jews by the Nazis and their fascist collaborators,” said a statement made by the Jewish community of Rome.
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