ROME — Thousands of young people paraded peacefully through the streets of Rome and other Italian cities Monday to protest a spate of anti-Semitic incidents roiling a nation whose tolerant, modern democracy is founded on anti-fascism.
Demonstrators wore yellow stars emblazoned "Never Again." Non-Jewish marchers carried placards reading, "We are all Jews." In the largest of marches planned in 30 cities, Roman demonstrators chanted, "Watch out, Nazis, ignorance kills."
The marches drew up to 30,000 demonstrators, most of them students, in the heart of old Rome and about half that many in Milan by police count. The protests answered a week of tension and anti-Semitic vandalism in the Italian capital. They also marked the 54th anniversary of Kristallnacht (Crystal Night), when Nazi mobs in Germany shattered shop windows at the start of their pogrom against that country's Jews in 1938.
Most of Italy's 40,000 Jews live in Rome, where a Jewish community has kept its faith in sight of what is now Vatican City since long before the birth of Christ. During World War II, however, about 8,000 Jews were sent to Nazi death camps.