Riot police have been standing by in Rome, as scores of people protested against the freeing of a former S-S Captain accused of wartime massacres.
During his trial, Erich Priebke insisted he was just following orders and would have been executed himself had he resisted.
But he was re-arrested - a day after he was cleared by a military court- and is now in a Rome prison awaiting a decision regarding his extradition to Germany.
Emotions are running high in Italy after former S-S Captain Erich Priebke was cleared by a military court of his involvement in a wartime massacre.
On Thursday, he was exonerated of cruelty and premeditation in the Ardeatine Caves massacre of 335 civilians, one of the worst war atrocities in Italy during World War Two.
During his trial he insisted that he was just following orders and would have been executed himself had he resisted.
His re arrest Friday and subsequent imprisonment at the Regina Coeli (Queen of Heaven) prison didn't seem to satisfy the crowd.
Priebke's lawyer Velio Di Rezze says the protesters don't understand.
(question -- why the violent protest)
I understand them. They feel wounded but they don't understand the way in which the decision was made -- and I just don't understand the siege and the tribunal and the violence with which it was carried out.
SUPERCAPTION: Priebke's lawyer Velio Di Rezze
But Di Rezze was as much a target of the protesters' anger as Priebke. He was after all, the man who defended him and got him off.
"Piece of shit, fascist, nazi, racist (camera moves down wall and returns) let me see you, you disgusting person!"
SUPERCAPTION: Man screaming down from wall at Priebke's lawyer
As the day progressed the crowds' chants grew louder.
And the riot police stood their ground in case of trouble.
The military court found Priebke guilty of participating in the murder, but freed him because the crimes took place more than 30 years ago -- which under Italian law means the charge had expired.
But Germany doesn't have the same law, and it is now seeking to try Priebke.
The Foreign Ministry will today, via the German Ambassador in Rome, inform the Italian Appeal Court of its intention to extradite him.
SUPER CAPTION: Horst Freitag, Speaker for the foreign ministry
Germany has to move quickly as Priebke can only be held in prison for up to four days.
But if an Italian civilian court agrees Germany's arrest warrant, his imprisonment can be extended another 40 days.
However, there could be one major obstacle - when Priebke was originally extradited, Rome had promised that Italy would not hand him over to another country.
At the moment we have asked Italy to hold Mr Priebke in custody because of an arrest warrant issued by a German prosecutor. Mr Priebke is held responsible for murder.
SUPER CAPTION: Bernhard Bohm, speaker for the Justice Ministry
A fifth of those killed were Jews.
But Tullia Zevi, President Jewish Community Rome, says the case is a tragedy for all Italians.
"The feeling is of sorrow indignation and frustration and also the need to make clear the fact that this was not only a Jewish tragedy because one-fifth of those murdered were Jews, it is also an Italian tragedy, a European tragedy. We expected this court to express with its verdict a sharp, definitive condemnation so that we could transmit to the
younger generations the evils and dangers that stem from authoritarianism, from violence, from extreme nationalism from racism."
SUPERCAPTION: Tullia Zevi, President Jewish Community Rome
Friday's headlines in Italy's daily newspapers reflected widespread anger over the decision, accusing the military tribunal of shaming the entire country.
But this was nothing like the anger felt by people living in the Jewish ghetto in Rome.
Some of them are still haunted by the massacre.
"I was alive when they took them away, I lived through their abduction, I'm 80 now. Disgraziati, disgraziati."
These people have carefully followed the three-month trial and feel it has all been for nothing.
"The spent money, they went to get him and bring him here -- all of it has been shameful." --slush vendor in ghetto.
The Italian Jewish community's only hope is that Priebke will be extradited to Germany where laws will allow him to be tried for murder.