Italy's Northern League seeks inroads in south amid protests

The leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League party is vowing to go ahead with his first major rally in Naples despite planned protests from radicals and leftists intent on keeping him out of the southern Italy that the League has long disparaged.

A few dozen protesters on Friday toting a banner "Naples doesn't want you" occupied the convention center where Matteo Salvini is due to speak. More are planning to protest his arrival Saturday, while the Northern League planned to bus in supporters.

The League has its base in Italy's affluent north and has long criticized the tax money Rome funnels to the poorer, less-developed south. But the League is trying to make inroads in the south, capitalizing on populist sentiment and poor showings recently by the Democratic Party.