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Italy marks end of Nazi occupation in lockdown

Rome, Apr 25 (efe-epa).- Italy celebrated the 75th Liberation Day, which marked the end of Nazi Germany’s occupation and Fascist rule in 1945, in a toned-down ceremony devoid of the usual street rallies that take place.

The normally buoyant celebrations that grip the country did not take place as Italy grapples with a coronavirus outbreak that has claimed almost 26,000 lives.

The Mediterranean country usually celebrates the national holiday with concerts, events and exhibitions and large rallies in Rome and Milan with all public offices and shops closed.

This year, Italians are marking the historic date in a more subdued way, and unable to take to the streets due to confinement measures that have been in place since 9 March.

President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella cut a lonely figure in a stark Venice Square in Rome where he paid his respects at the Altar of the Fatherland.

In the early morning, Mattarella walked towards the Victor Emmanuel II National Monument and climbed the long staircase to the grave of the unknown soldier, alone and wearing a mask.

Two cavalrymen, also sporting masks, waited for the president and carried a wreath to the sounds of a trumpeter of the Carabinieri band.

All Italians have been summoned to take to their balconies to sing the iconic protest folk song Bella Ciao at 3 in the afternoon.

In a message to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation, Mattarella has urged all Italians to show unity and solidarity during these difficult times.

The president thanked the work of health professionals and people working in essential services making them highly exposed to the virus.

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