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Police Raid a Fascism-Themed Beach In Italy After Uproar

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Italian police raided a beach near Venice after a local newspaper reported the tourist spot, along with its beach club, were decorated with homages to former Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his fascist regime.

The club, located in Chioggia, now faces closure, and its owner may be prosecuted for being an "apologia of fascism."

According to the BBC, Punta Cana Beach Club is set up as basically a shrine to the former leader of Italy, and to fascism itself. The fascist theme to the club begins at the entrance to the club, where a placard reads, "Rules – order, cleanliness, discipline, severity.”

The International Business Times reports that the club’s owner , 64-year-old Gianni Scarpa, reportedly broadcasts "communiques" over club loudspeakers every 30 minutes, telling the visitors that democracy "disgusts" him and that he will fight against "the human scum in the world, which is 50 percent who luckily can't come in here."

Other references to fascism are scattered throughout the club, including one sign that reads, "The regime rules here, democracy disgusts me, and if you don’t like it, I don’t give a toss.” Another reportedly boasts, "Defense of property shooting at close range, if you don't like it I don't give a toss!"

Another placard reads: "My rules are in force here,” along with an image of Scarpa standing in front of a white cabin door decorated with the words, "Gas chamber, entry forbidden."

There are also reportedly pictures of Mussolini in the bathing huts.

In response to the report, Venice Prefect Carlo Boffi has ordered "[t]he immediate removal of any reference to fascism in notices or any other written form" from the beach club, and has also mandated that Scarpa abstains from "discriminatory messages critical of democracy."

This story has also caused a backlash from religious and partisans groups.

The president of Italy's Jewish Community, Noemi Di Segni, criticized local civil authorities for not noticing the beach club and its message earlier.

"It is grave that it is left up to journalism, and not the authorities, to denounce such shameful cases,” she said. “Where are the politicians and institutions who should be vigilant? The images we have seen are an outrage to the memories of the [Holocaust] and offense to the democratic institutions of our country."

The National Association of Italian Partisans has called on tourists to boycott the beach, and for the government to revoke Scarpa’s operating license.

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