Italy passes decree clamping down on illegal rave parties

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's lower house of parliament on Friday gave its final approval to a government decree cracking down on unlicensed rave parties, laying out jail terms and fines for the organisers.

Cabinet passed the decree late in October just days after the new right-wing administration of Giorgia Meloni was sworn in, immediately signalling a tougher approach on public order following complaints over a Halloween party in northern Italy.

The new rules were eventually approved by 183 votes to 116.

Under the decree, those who promote the "invasion" of property to organise mass parties face a maximum six years in jail and fines of 1,000 to 10,000 euros ($1,066-$10,661) if it results in "concrete danger to public health or safety."

Prime Minister Meloni defended the measures at her end-of-year news conference on Thursday.

"For some time people have been coming from all over Europe to organise illegal gatherings with violence, drugs .. because we have allowed it, but normal nations do not allow people to devastate protected areas to have fun," she said.

The government's move was fiercely contested by the opposition, and Meloni's coalition earlier this week had to call a confidence vote to force it through the Chamber of Deputies by truncating debate over amendments.

Left-leaning parties such as the 5-Star Movement say the penalties are too harsh and also criticise the decree for including legislation on separate matters such as the abolition of COVID-19 vaccine mandates for doctors earlier than previously planned.

Former mayor of Turin Chiara Appendino, a 5-Star deputy, on Friday called the decree an "abomination" which in reality "has little or nothing to do with rave parties."

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(Reporting by Angelo Amante, editing by Gavin Jones and Hugh Lawson)