Turin, Piedmont file petition against Altaforte amid book fair row

Rightwing publisher's presence sparked boycott by anti-Fascist writers

(ANSA) - Turin, may 7 - The city of Turin and the regional government of Piedmont issued a complaint to police on Tuesday asking prosecutors to weigh whether rightwing publisher Altaforte was guilty of apology of Fascism, a crime in postwar Italy.
    The move comes amid a massive furore over Altaforte's participation at the Turin Book fair, which sparked by boycott by anti-Fascist writers.
    The Turin chapter of the ruling anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) on Tuesday called on the Turin Book fair to bar Altaforte.
    "The Fair must be the space where we celebrate tolerance and resistance to neoFascist and authoritarian drifts, the public moment where we can wage war with the force of words and arguments," the M5S chapter said.
    "But is can be this on one condition only: the exclusion of Altaforte and (its chief Francesco) Polacchi". "Any intermediate way, any compromise would mark for the Fair a loss on the cultural level that we cannot accept," said M5S Turin council whip Valentina Sganga.
    There has been a flurry of anti-Fascist and leftwing defections from the fair in protest at the presence of a the 'nationalist-populist' publisher, whose owner Polacchi unapologetically called himself a Fascist Monday.
    After the resignation of writer and teacher Christian Raimo from his post of publishing consultant to the fair, writers' collective Wu Ming and essayist Carlo Ginzburg also said they would not be attending this year's event.
    They were followed by cartoonist Zerocalcare.
    Left-leaning writers and publishers are uneasy at the presence of 'sovereigntist' publisher Altaforte, considered close to neoFascist group CasaPound.
    Altaforte director Polacchi told ANSA Monday: "I'm a Fascist. Antifascism is the real ill of this country.
    "We were ready for polemics, but not this surreal level of spite. There are even some people on social media saying they're coming to Turin to throw Molotov cocktails at us.
    "We'll be there because by now it's a question of principle".
    Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has courted controversy by choosing Altaforte as the publisher of a book of his interviews, I Am Matteo Salvini.
    Asked about the affair on Tuesday, Salvini said "culture comes from everywhere".
    But the city government of Turin and the regional government of Piedmont issued a complaint to police Tuesday asking prosecutors to weigh whether Altaforte was guilty of apology of Fascism, a crime in postwar Italy.
    The fair runs from May 9 to May 13.
   

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