As exit polls give Giorgia Meloni‘s far-right Brothers of Italy the first party position in the country, with over 20 percent of the vote, some of the leader’s supporters are celebrating on social media with alt-right memes mocking left-wing voters.
On Monday—as early predictions showed the right-wing coalition led by Brothers of Italy was projected to win between 43 and 45 percent of the vote—the hashtag “sagra delle lacrime,” which roughly translates to “festival of tears,” was trending on Twitter, together with the hashtag “godo,” which can be translated as “gloating”.
“What a blow to the radical chic VIPs,” wrote one on Twitter, sharing an image of Meloni next to left-wing Italian influencers. “To see you crying is a pleasure, idiots,” wrote another.
Many tweets with the “gloating” hashtag bid farewell to former Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio, whose new party “Impegno Civile” (Civic Movement) didn’t go beyond the zero percent of votes.
But among the mockery of left-wing voters, some far-right memes also made their appearance on Twitter. In a post with the hashtag “festival of tears,” Pepe the Frog can be seen drinking the tears of the Democratic Party (PD) voters with a straw.
In another, Pepe the Frog is wearing a Trump-like wig and standing in a casino, ready to roll a pair of dice. “Let the good times roll,” the image reads. “What do you say, medieval times are coming back?” the Twitter user wrote.
Pepe the Frog, a humanoid frog originally created in 2005 by illustrator Matt Furie for his “Boy’s Life” comic, took a life of his own when it became an internet meme used on the likes of 4chan and Reddit in the 2010s, and later surged to become a symbol of the alt-right between 2015 and 2016.
To the dismay of Furie, Pepe started appearing on social media wearing a Hitler moustache, wearing a KKK hood and robe and posing in front of the burning World Trade Center. In 2016, Pepe the Frog was inserted by the Anti-Defamation League into its hate symbol database.
Many have said it is hypocritical of left-wing voters to accuse Brothers of Italy, a party which has its roots in the Italian neo-fascist movement, of being fascist after two years of COVID-19 restrictions which they themselves described as “fascist.”
“I didn’t vote for Meloni, but reading about the defeat of the PD after two years and a half of nazi-fascist moves gives me extreme pleasure,” one wrote on Twitter.
Though final results on Italy’s September 25 elections will only be available later on Monday, Meloni is set to become the country’s next prime minister.
The Brothers of Italy’s leader has tried to distance herself and her party from its neo-fascist origins, claiming that her party has consigned fascism to “history,” thought many have interpreted her message as an attempt to soften her image in order to conquer the wider electorate.
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