At 9 o'clock in the morning, the Salvini Sunday show started on the internet. Via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, he once again reminded his followers throughout Italy to be in Rome in the afternoon and demonstrate against the "government of tax increases and immigration". 100,000 people, he had announced the day before in an interview with the Roman newspaper "Il Messaggero", would gather in the square in front of the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano. "People have asked us to set a sign against this fraudulent government and - here we are ".
At lunchtime enthusiastic Salvians descended from hundreds of Lega buses, waving pennants and chanting "Italia Italia". Two hours before the start of the event - Salvini had meanwhile brought it to 13 tweets - many stood in front of the 60-meter-wide stage.
In the end, there were 200,000, say the organizers, 50,000 reported, however, the newspaper La Repubblica, citing police sources. Monitors made for the "day of Italian pride" as the event was officially named.
Actually, it should probably be called "march on Rome", under this battle Benito Mussolini had end of October 1922 put in power. But that seemed to the event organizers too sensitive for this "day that will go down in history" as Salvini knew it before the event started. With a "stream of people full of laughter, hope and future" (Salvini), who had come to Rome to cheer for the leaders of the Italian Right, such as
- Silvio Berlusconi, head of the more right-wing liberal Forza-Italia,
- Georgia Meloni, president of the party "Brothers of Italy", in which old and new fascists offer themselves to the voters and
- especially Salvini himself, of course, the organizer and leader of the "Lega", which had once been founded as a regional northern party with contempt for Rome and hatred of the South, and under his leadership became the largest right-wing force of Italy.
Not at the lectern, but loudly represented in the audience were also followers of some right-wing radical groups, such as the torchlight and violence notorious "Casa Pound" movement. "I'm there, too," their leader, Simone di Stefano, had told in advance. For right now rights should not divide, but must be united in the fight against "this obscene government" in Rome.
Continue to heat up
That's why there had been an argument in advance. Forza Italia politicians, such as Vice-President Mara Carfagna, said the radicals did not fit their party's values. Salvini had just said that everyone was welcome. And Berlusconi had also submitted to the same, because the boss of the largest party in the right alliance is automatically his boss - and this boss needs now the complete camp right of the median strip, if he wants to calculate an opportunity to overthrow the current coalition ,
Followers in Rome: In terms of content, Salvini did not say anything new
In August, he felt strong enough to seize power in the old coalition - the legacy of the 5-star movement. But that went completely wrong. Since September 5, although the same Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, governs now but with the stars and the Social Democrats - and without the Lega and without Salvini.
He has kept surprisingly well in the polls despite his defeat, but it is simply not enough for the majority. Not in the current parliament anyway. But even in recent surveys on the preferences of Italian voters for the TV broadcaster Sky, the legal alliance is currently at 47.1 percent before the yellow-red government coalition (45.8 percent) - a parliamentary majority is not.
That's why Salvini must continue to fuel the climate in the country, constantly attacking the government. That's why he's like a man driven through the country. That's why the big event in Rome.
It is also a test of how the new alliance reaches the people. One of several people waiting. For example, the regional elections in Umbria on 27 October. It's all about a small region, politically not so important - but for 50 years Umbria has been a stronghold of the left. This could now go for the first time to the Lega candidate. In Rome, the 5-star mayor Virginia Raggi, activists of Lega and the "brothers of Italy" are demanding their resignation because they "ruin Rome otherwise".
If all goes well for him, Salvini is determined to overturn the Italian government "until spring." Of those who had gathered on Saturday afternoon in the Piazza in front of San Giovanni, that would certainly be great. Even though the speakers there had nothing important to say in terms of content, but nothing new, surprising, or even - in view of the numerous global problems - important things to say.
Berlusconi recounted how badly the judiciary had played him and that Italy was still ruled by communists. The leader of the "Brothers of Italy", Georgia Meloni, shouted the slogans about the place for which she is known: about the robbery of the Italians by the high taxes, with which the government finances only evil things, to the naturalization of immigrants, the Make Europe a Muslim continent.
Host and final speaker Matteo Salvini was highlighted on stage in the gigantic stage with the voice of the deceased Italian opera god Luciano Pavarotti and the end of the Puccini aria Nessun Dormo. Their last powerful word is called "Vinceró" - in English: "I will win". But in fact Salvini only told what everyone else had said before him. And he already on many previous occasions.