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Italy Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre under guard amid death threats

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Italian life senator Liliana Segre in Milan, 21 June 2019
Liliana Segre has reported receiving about 200 hate messages a day

An 89-year-old Holocaust survivor in Italy has been assigned police guards for protection after receiving hundreds of threats on social media.

Liliana Segre, who was sent to the notorious Auschwitz death camp at 13, has been subjected to a barrage of anti-Semitic messages in recent days.

It comes after Ms Segre, an Italian life senator, called for parliament to establish a committee to combat hate.

The motion passed despite a lack of support by Italy’s right-wing parties.

Members of the nationalist League party, led by Matteo Salvini, the centre-right Forza Italia and the far-right Brothers of Italy all abstained from the vote in Milan last week.

The motion called for the establishment of an extraordinary commission in Italy to combat all forms of racism, anti-Semitism, incitement to hatred and violence on ethnic and religious grounds.

Ms Segre said after the vote that the abstentions made her feel “like a Martian in the Senate”.

I appealed to the conscience of everyone and thought that a commission against hatred as a principle would be accepted by all,” she said at the time, Italy’s La Repubblica reported (in Italian).

Since then, she has reported receiving as many as 200 hate messages a day.

Some of the threats have been so serious that the prefect of Milan, Renato Saccone, held a meeting on Wednesday with the committee for security and public order, where it was agreed that Ms Segre needed police protection.

The measures that were approved include Ms Segre being accompanied in public by two paramilitary carabinieri officers.

Meanwhile, the Milan public prosecutor’s office said it had opened an investigation into the hate messages targeting the senator and had requested the assistance of Italy’s anti-terror police.

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