Rome

Comedian Beppe Grillo expels two activists from M5S movement

'M5S less democratic than political parties,' says one

Comedian Beppe Grillo expels two activists from M5S movement

Rome, December 12 - Comedian-turned-activist Beppe Grillo, famed for his piercing criticism of the Italian political establishment and for his colorful insults, expelled two dissident members of his anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) on Wednesday. Federica Salsi and Giovanni Favia had accused Grillo of leading the M5S in an undemocratic way, and their ouster follows Grillo's dismissal last month of two other M5S activists, Valentino Tavolazzi and Fabrizio Biole'. The M5S is not officially a political party, but rather a web-based movement that has garnered widespread support among Italian voters. "Permission to use the Five Star Movement logo has been withdrawn from Federica Salsi and Giovanni Favia. I ask them to refrain from referring to me or the M5S in describing their political activity," said Grillo on his popular blog. Grillo added, "I hope they continue their brilliant activities as council members," referring to Salsi's position as a Bologna city council member and Favia's post on the Emilia-Romagna regional council. Salsi responded almost immediately on the website Affari Italiani. "Dissent is not part of the design within the movement," Salsi said. "Paradoxically the (Italian political) parties, with all the disasters they've brought upon this country, are more controllable by citizens than Grillo or Casaleggio," Salsi added, making reference to the comedian and M5S co-founder, Italian Internet entrepreneur Gianroberto Casaleggio.

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