(This Oct. 31 story has been refiled to fix wording to law and order in paragraph 4.)
ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s new right-wing government signalled on Monday it would crack down on unlicensed rave parties, with organisers risking jail terms of up to six years for staging such events.
The move followed a weekend Halloween party in a disused warehouse close to the northern city of Modena that attracted more than 1,000 people from Italy and abroad, and brought complaints about noise and its impact on traffic in the area.
“We have shown that the state won’t turn a blind eye and fail to act when faced with law-breaking,” Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni told a news conference, saying Italy needed to tighten the rules to bring it into line with European neighbours.
Meloni, whose government came to office in October on a pledge to be tough on law and order, mentioned a bigger rave last year in the town of Viterbo at which two deaths were reported and an area of natural beauty was damaged.
“The impression that the Italian state has given in recent years is one of being lax when it comes to respecting the rules and the law,” she said.
Under proposals agreed by her government, those behind such parties could in future face between three and six years in jail, and would have the equipment used at the raves confiscated.
The new offence would apply to unauthorised gatherings of at least 50 people that pose a risk to public health, safety or order, Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi told a news conference.
The party in Modena, which had been scheduled to run until Tuesday, ended peacefully on Monday at lunchtime when revellers agreed with police gathered at the site to turn off the music and head for home.
“Happy Halloween to everyone, apart from those from half of Europe who came to cause chaos in Modena in Italy with an illegal rave party,” said Matteo Salvini, leader of the League party on Twitter.
The League is part of Meloni’s coalition, which extends to her hard-right Brothers of Italy party and the mainstream conservative Forza Italia of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi.
($1 = 1.0118 euros)
(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Writing by Keith Weir; Editing by Alvise Armellini and Alison Williams)