Italy's Salvini defiant as he addresses thousands at rally
September 15 2019 05:51 PM
Italian senator, head of the Italian far-right League (Lega) party Matteo Salvini delivers a speech
Italian senator, head of the Italian far-right League (Lega) party Matteo Salvini delivers a speech on stage during the party's annual rally in Pontida


Italy's anti-immigration former interior minister Matteo Salvini slammed the country's new centre-left government at a rally on Sunday and said he was confident his right-wing populist League party would return to power.

‘I can gladly leave the seven ministries to the traitors, because we will get them back in a few months with interest,’ Salvini said in front of thousands of supporters in the town of Pontida in the Lombardy region, according to the ANSA news agency.

He was referring to the ministries his party held in its coalition government with the Five Star Movement (M5S), which collapsed in August. The new government is a coalition between M5S and the Social Democrats (PD), but is still led by independent law professor Giuseppe Conte.

It was Salvini who initially withdrew his League party from the coalition with M5S, hoping to strengthen his party through a new election after its dominant performance in the European elections in May. However, the new coalition thwarted his plan.

‘There are no couch potatoes here, but men and women with values,’ Salvini told his followers on Sunday.

Salvini has called for a demonstration in Rome on October 19 that he said should be a ‘celebration of national pride.’  The organizers had expected 80,000 people to attend the meeting in Pontida, but exact numbers were not available.

According to ANSA, a video journalist working for the left-leaning La Repubblica was assaulted by participants and had his microphone destroyed, and another La Repubblica journalist was insulted and harassed by several dozen people.

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