Official wants school renamed after Mussolini

2012-07-14 22:17
An Italian municipal councillor has sparked an uproar by suggesting that a school in a northern village be renamed to honour fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, reports say. (File, AFP)

An Italian municipal councillor has sparked an uproar by suggesting that a school in a northern village be renamed to honour fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, reports say. (File, AFP)

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Rome - An Italian municipal councillor has sparked an uproar by suggesting that a school in a northern village be re-named to honour fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, reports said on Saturday.

Giovani Iotti, of the People of Liberty party founded by former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, made the proposal for the school in Pieve Saliceto, where Mussolini briefly taught in 1902 before his rise to power.

It should be renamed, said Iotti, "not to exalt the head of the Fascist Party, but to remember the teacher in our primary schools," ANSA news agency reported.

"The elderly in the country, the children and grandchildren of his students, remember him as a strict teacher who prepared his lessons well," he told the Resto del Carlino regional daily, ANSA reported.

The deputy mayor of the village, Francesco Villani, dismissed the idea, saying Mussolini was a dictator.

Mussolini became prime minister in 1922 and set up a totalitarian state that went on to ally itself with Nazi Germany during World War II.

He remained in power until he was overthrown in 1943 as the tide of the war turned against him.

In 1945, he was captured by partisans as he tried to flee to Switzerland and shot, his body strung up in a public square.

A 1952 law has banned any apology for fascism, but in April of this year, an association of Italian fascist veterans unveiled a plaque outside the house where the dictator was executed.

Mussolini still enjoys a cult following among Italy's far-right groups and his tomb in Predappio receives thousands of visitors every year.

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