Italian Populist Leaders Hold Rally, Warn Migrants “It’s Time to Pack Your Bags”

Italian populist leader Matteo Salvini warned migrants at a rally on Saturday, “The free ride is over. It’s time to pack your bag.”

The AP reported:

Italy’s new populist leaders commemorated the founding of the Italian republic by attending a pomp-filled military parade Saturday — and then promised to get to work creating jobs and expelling migrants.

“The free ride is over,” League leader Matteo Salvini, Italy’s new interior minister, warned migrants at a rally in northern Italy. “It’s time to pack your bags.”

The pledge of mass deportations to come was a reminder that Italy has a staunchly anti-immigrant, right-wing party in its governing coalition — and that the European Union will face a whole new partner governing its fourth-largest economy.

Earlier, Salvini joined Premier Giuseppe Conte and the rest of the newly sworn-in Cabinet to view the Republic Day parade. Italy’s aeronautic acrobatic squad flew low and loud over downtown Rome trailing smoke in the red, white and green of the Italian flag.

The national pride on display is a feature of every Republic Day, but it took on a particular significance this year after Italy on Friday ended three months of political and financial turmoil and swore in a government whose populist and euroskeptic leanings have alarmed Europe.

Conte, a law professor plucked from relative obscurity to head an unlikely governing alliance of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and League, said the celebrations Saturday transcended all the tensions of recent days.

“It’s the celebration for all of us, of our republic,” he said.

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