(ANSA) - Rome, December 13 - A spokesman for the
anti-austerity Pitchfork Movement, now in its fifth day of
street protests blocking commerce, said Italy was a "slave of
bankers like the Rothschilds" and said that "five of the world's
six richest people are Jews".
"It's curious," added Andrea Zunino in an interview with
Italian daily La Repubblica printed Friday. "It's something I
need to figure out".
His remarks were met with sharp rebuke from Italy's Jewish
"Such words recall those...that in the history of our
continent have brought about the deaths of millions of
citizens," said Riccardo Pacifici, president of Rome's Jewish
In his interview, he also praised Beppe Grillo, head of
Italy's anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, and Hungarian
Premier Viktor Orbàn, whose right-wing government has been
accused of turning a blind eye to rising anti-Semitism.
"It's true that (Orbàn) is really liberating his country,"
In Italy, he said the Pitchfork Movement "wants the
government to resign. We want a sovereign Italy".
The Pitchfork protests began as a loose-knit group of
farmers and truckers disgruntled by austerity-driven tax hikes,
who demonstrated by blocking freight lines.
Over the week it has grown into a catch-all group for those
opposed to the government and the European Union, including a
wide array of unemployed, students, and the far-right wing, many
of whom have been cited and arrested for looting and destroying
public property in various Italian cities, from Milan in the
north to Bari in the south.
Businesses such as supermarkets and bookstores have
complained of intimidation from demonstrators who have flooded
their stores and told them to either join their movement or
Some said they were threatened with violence.
Investigations are ongoing throughout the country.
A large-scale Pitchfork demonstration is scheduled in Rome
"We don't want open war on the streets," said Pitchfork
leader Mariano Ferro.
"We apologize to all Italians who have been inconvenienced,
but we couldn't do it any other way".