A viral social media video shows hundreds of men dressed in black standing in a central street in Rome and performing the Nazi salute several times.

The gathering was held in memory of three neo-fascist activists who were killed in 1978.

The three were members of the ‘Italian Social Movement’ and two of them were killed, presumably, by left-wing activists, with the third killed by a police officer after a riot broke out in that spot.

The video has caused controversy in Italy. Italian authorities have announced they are opening a criminal investigation.

The ceremony is held each year on January 7th, but the participants did not use the Nazi salute, or Heil, until this year.

Giorgia Meloni, the Prime Minister of Italy, has participated in the ceremony several times, albeit before taking office.

Several senior members of her party have also taken part in the ceremony, but according to their staff did so only to leave wreaths for the memory of the murdered and left the area before the salute."

The head of the Italian opposition parties called for the Prime Minister to break up the neofascist organizations active in Italy that performed the salute.

“This is Rome, January 7th, 2024. It looks like 1924. What happened here is unacceptable. The new fascist groups must be broken up,” wrote opposition leader Elly Schlein.