Updated 7pm with Opposition reaction
Italy is to criminalise raves, with strict new laws that could see organisers of the illegal parties jailed for up to six years.
Italian Home Affairs Minister Matteo Piantedosi announced the plans this week, shortly after police were called to stop a large rave taking place inside an abandoned warehouse in Modena.
More than 1,000 revellers were kicked out of the event and around €150,000 worth of equipment confiscated after residents nearby complained about non-stop techno music for 48 hours. The BBC said partygoers left without trouble and tidied up behind themselves.
The new laws would make it a crime to stage a gathering of 50 or more people deemed “dangerous” to public order. Apart from up to six years in prison, organisers would also face fines ranging from €1,000 to €10,000.
Controversially, the government also wants to empower police to wiretap organisers and intercept online communications about events. Raves are often advertised through social media messaging apps like WhatsApp.
"The party's over," tweeted Matteo Salvini, anti-immigrant League party chief and minister of infrastructure.
Criticism of rave ban
Piantedosi’s plan drew criticism within Italy, however.
"It's a major error. Raves have no place in such a document. This calls into question public freedoms," Democratic Party secretary and former prime minister Enrico Letta posted on Twitter.
Writer Erri di Luca saw a "serious danger for open and free musical shows".
Opposition politicians also noted that the government had not stopped a weekend march of 2,000 supporters of fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
The minister argued that the two events were “completely different” as the Mussolini march had been held for several years and had not attracted a police report.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, whose party Brothers of Italy has fascist roots, has distanced herself from the weekend march, describing it as “politically something distant from me in a very significant way".
But Meloni faced further scrutiny of her party’s right-wing roots this week when she named a far-right deputy who has been photographed wearing a Nazi armband as deputy minister.
Galeazzo Bignami was photographed in 2005 wearing a Nazi armband with a swastiza.
In a Twitter post, opposition lawmaker Marco Furfaro denounced his nomination as "an offence, an indecency against the constitution, history, memory and victims of the swastika."
Bignami says the photo was taken “in a private context” for which “I have apologised more than once" and described Nazi ideology as "evil".
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