As Paris burns, 50,000 in Rome rally in support of populist government defying EU mandarins
Saturday saw a new tale of two cities. Paris, in the throes of a popular revolt against the globalist, warmist, high-tax regime of Emmanuel Macron, was exploding in another weekend of violence that saw "1,385 arrests, setting a record for a single day in postwar France." Meanwhile, in Rome, a buoyant crowd of at least 50,000 celebrated six months of power for the populist coalition that won power in Italy.
Far-right Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini attacked same-sex unions and promised to put "Italians first" during a rally in Rome on Saturday, as his government remained locked in deadlock with the EU over its proposed budget.
The rally was held to celebrate the success of Salvini's Northern League party [sic, see below –D.B.] in this year's general election, which saw the populist and euroskeptic party enter into a coalition with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement.
Salvini told about 50,000 supporters in Piazza del Popolo that the current government would last for five years. But the event had the markings of a campaign rally throughout, with the Interior Minister telling the crowd that "United we will win" as he finished his speech.
Italian journalist Alessandra Bocchi noted another contrast – in the way media treated the two men:
Crowds in support for Salvini in Rome vs rioters burning the city against Macron in Paris today. The first man was demonized by the corporate media as a dangerous populist, the second heralded as the saviour of Europe. pic.twitter.com/HwKDq4m8JD— Alessandra (@alessabocchi) December 8, 2018
Salvini and his populist coalition are facing a looming EU veto of Italy's proposed budget and are taking an explicitly nationalist position, implicitly endorsing Trump's nationalism that was rebuked by Macron.
Reuters notes that Salvini's popularity is surging based on promises kept:
Since taking office, Salvini has made good on promises to slow drastically the arrival of mainly African migrants into Italy, and has seen support for the League surge to around 34 percent [double its vote in the election –T.L.], making it the largest party in Italy.
League voters from around the country flowed into the huge Piazza del Popolo (People's Square) under a warm winter sun, their flags sporting the names of cities from the south, such as Bari and Naples, and to the north, such as Venice and Milan.
It is worth noting that Salvini's party formerly was called the "Northern League" and advocated regional separatism, but now, renamed "The League," it is a strong advocate for nationalism and national unity. It's almost as if a trend has been spotted.