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Lazio ultras condemned for singing anti-Semitic chants during Rome derby

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The Jewish community of Rome denounced on Monday alleged anti-Semitic behavior from Lazio fans during Sunday's derby win against Roma.

"An entire stand chanting anti-Semitic chants, a 'fan' in the stands wearing a Hitlerson jersey and the number 88, and we, as always, the only ones outraged and protesting," wrote Ruth Dureghello, president of the Jewish community of Rome, on Twitter.

The post was accompanied by a photo of a supporter in a Lazio shirt with 'Hitlerson' as the player name on the back with the number 88, code for 'Heil Hitler,' and a video of Lazio fans chanting.

"Can it be that everyone continues to pretend that nothing is happening?" she asked.

These images had been "verified," said a spokesman for the Jewish community of Rome.

Italian sports minister Andrea Abodi responded by retweeting Dureghello's post with the comment: "Impossible to pretend that nothing is happening. I will do my part, as I feel a duty to do. Respect is due and is non-negotiable!"

Lazio said they were working to identify and ban the fans responsible.

"Before and after Sunday's match we had in place security ... to identify those responsible and ban them from the stadium," Lazio said in a statement.

The weekend's incidents are the latest in a litany involving Lazio's hardcore fans, some of the most right wing in a country where fascist fan groups are a widespread phenomenon.

On March 8, the Italian football federation announced an investigation into alleged anti-Semitic chants by Lazio fans during their team's win at Napoli on March 3.

In January, the northern section of Rome's Stadio Olimpico, home to Lazio's ultras, was closed for a match after racist abuse by the ultras at Lecce, aimed at two Black players, Samuel Umtiti and Lameck Banda.

Last season the handler of Lazio's eagle mascot praised dictators Benito Mussolini and Francisco Franco after being suspended by the club for performing a fascist salute at the end of a match.

In 2017, Lazio fans displayed an image of Anne Frank, a German-Jewish teenager who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, which they had displayed wearing the jersey of rivals Roma.

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