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Protests Kick Off To Fight Italy's 'Anti-Rave' Laws

21 December 2022 | 1:11 pm | Mary Varvaris

"We want a return to normality that allows us to have a nightlife without fear of oppression."

(Pic by Linda Dunjey)

Last month, Italy's new government, spearheaded by far-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, made it a crime to stage an unlicensed public rave via the new law, Article 633 bis, after shutting one down in Northern Italy hours earlier.

The crime is labelled an "invasion for dangerous gatherings" of more than 50 attendees, with people who throw raves facing up to six years of jail. The new law also means that rave organisers can also be wiretapped.

The trigger for the crime followed a warehouse rave in Modena in November that was shut down. Residents had complained about 48 hours of thumping techno music that attracted punters all the way from Belgium and France. 

The law reflects similar ones across Europe but suggests that, unlike other states, Italy would not be relaxed about the rules. 

The previous government had attempted to change the law in 2021 after a rave in Viterbo saw the death of two people.

Criticism came from far and wide towards the crackdown, with many commenting on why the government targeted partygoers when other mass public gatherings took place, including a rally in Predappio that hosted 2000 supporters gathered to celebrate dictator Mussolini. The rally included fascist salutes and hymns and was on the anniversary of the start of fascist rule 100 years ago.

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However, all hope is not lost, as thousands of people took to the streets to protest Italy's "anti-rave" laws over the weekend. 

The protests were led by the hashtag #smashrepression and occurred in Turin, Bologna, Naples, Rome, Palermo and Florence, as well as several cities in France. 

"It's important to take a stand against this legislation and make sure the voice of the rave community and all other underground music communities is heard loud and clear," Santano Viperillo, the event manager at Naples club Duel, who attended the protest, said to Resident Advisor.

"We want a return to normality that allows us to have a nightlife without fear of oppression," he added.

Robi Fog, DJ and founder of Looney Moon Records, was also at the protest and told Resident Advisor that there were around 2,000 people on the ground protesting.

A spokesman for Radio Blackout in Turin added, "[the legislation] is part of something much bigger and aimed at suppressing the most marginalised communities [...] This protest is about dancing together, about fighting together."