Rapallo: The mayor of the northwestern Italian coastal town of Rapallo has fired a local councillor who was photographed giving a fascist salute outside a church after a mass to commemorate late fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
In the photographs, culture councillor Gianni Arena was also pictured with fascist era memorabilia, Italy's La Stampa daily reported on Wednesday.
The photos were published by the Liguria region's Secolo XIX newspaper after they were posted to an Italian fascist sympathiser's page on the social networking website Facebook.
Rapallo's Mayor Mentore Campodonico sacked Arena as the centre-left opposition Democratic Party was gathering signatures from councillors in support of Arena's removal from office.
In a statement announcing Arena's dismissal, Rapallo's Mayor Mentore Campodonico said the "symbolic gravity" of Arena's fascist salute was "clearly incompatible" with the role of town councillor.
Amid a growing political row sparked by the photos, the ruling conservative People of Freedom party to which Arena belongs had referred him to its disciplinary body, La Stampa said.
Prosecutors in the nearby city of Chiavari are investigating the incident.
First Published: Thursday, January 20, 2011, 14:01