Noose protest against Italy’s first black minister

A+
A
A-

In this file photo taken on Feb. 4 2011, Senate vice president Roberto Calderoli reacts during a press conference in Rome. Italian police on Monday, July 15, 2013, were investigating far-right militants suspected of hanging nooses to protest Italy’s first black minister Cecile Kyenge, two days after Senator Roberto Calderoli compared her to an orangutan. AP PHOTO/ANDREW MEDICHINI

ROME—Italian police on Monday were investigating far-right militants suspected of hanging nooses to protest Italy’s first black minister Cecile Kyenge, two days after a senator compared her to an orangutan.

The nooses appeared on lampposts with posters signed by far-right group Forza Nuova in the city of Pescara where the minister for integration was visiting for a conference on immigration and citizenship.

“Immigration, the noose of the people!” read one of the slogans on the posters. Another said: “Everyone should live in their own country.”

Kyenge, who is of Congolese origin, has called for a reform of Italian law to make it easier for children born to immigrant parents to acquire citizenship.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta called for an end to the insults against Kyenge, saying this was a “shameful chapter” for Italy and could lead to a “major clash.”

Ever since being named to the cabinet in April, Kyenge has faced a barrage of abuse—particularly from members of the anti-immigration Northern League party.

Northern League MEP Mario Borghezio said her nomination was “bloody stupid” and that she had “a face like a housewife,” while one local party activist said the minister should be raped in a vicious Facebook rant about crimes committed by immigrants.

Northern League senator Roberto Calderoli, who has courted controversy for years with a series of racist, sexist and Islamophobic jibes, on Saturday said: “When I see pictures of Kyenge, I cannot help thinking of similarities with an orang-utan.”

In an interview with La Repubblica daily out on Monday, Calderoli then claimed that he had animalistic comparisons for all the ministers, including ones who looked like a frog, a peacock and a St. Bernard’s dog.

Letta on Monday said Calderoli’s remarks were “unacceptable” and called on Northern League leader Roberto Maroni to put an end to the attacks by his party members “as quickly as possible.”

Calderoli is deputy speaker of the Senate and there have been calls for his resignation from center-left lawmakers and anti-racism campaigners.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94