Bologna massacre marked after two-year government silence

'Sign of respect ends embarrassment' says mayor

Bologna massacre marked after two-year government silence

(ANSA) - Bologna, August 2 - The 85 victims of the 1980 Bologna train station bombing were commemorated here on Thursday with Interior Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri in attendance, the first government representative to appear after a controversial two-year gap. "It's a sign of respect and attention that ends some rather embarrassing behavior," said Bologna Mayor Virginio Merola three years after then culture minister Sandro Bondi was heckled at the ceremony, sparking a two-year absence from ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's center-right administration. The bombing, which also left some 200 injured, is believed to have been the joint work of neo-Fascists, members of the secret services and the subversive right-wing Propaganda-Due (P2) Masonic lodge, which was outlawed in 1982. "Keeping the memory of the innocent victims of terrorism alive allows us to share and transmit the sense of freedom and democracy, and the will to safeguard constitutional principles and rights," said Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in a statement. In November 1995, the Supreme Court upheld life sentences for two neo-Fascist terrorists, Valerio Fioravanti, a former TV child star, and Francesca Mambro, who were convicted of planting the bomb. Also upheld were lengthy jail terms for the head of the P-2 lodge, Licio Gelli, rogue operatives in the military intelligence service Sismi, and middleman Francesco Pazienza for working to sidetrack investigations into the massacre. Fioravanti and his companion Mambro have readily confessed to a string of murders but have always maintained they had nothing to do with the Bologna bomb. They are currently out on parole. Although many believe the attack was a bid to destabilize a country trying to leave behind years of terrorism, the underlying reasons for the bombing have never fully emerged. Responding to long-standing calls for full compensation to victims' families, the interior minister said she would "name a commissioner" to look into the affair "in the coming days".

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