Saturday, July 27, 2013

Bananas thrown at Italy's first black minister

Italian Minister for Integration Cecile Kyenge  
Italy has seen an outpouring of disgust after a spectator at a party rally threw bananas at the country's first black minister, who has suffered an onslaught of racist slurs since taking office in April. 
Integration minister Cecile Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was making a speech at the Friday rally when a member of the audience began to launch the pieces of fruit towards her.
The bananas missed the podium where she was speaking but the incident drew a deluge of condemnation in the media, where politicians and commentators lamented the shame brought on the country by the actions of the far-right.
"Another shameful and disgraceful gesture. Solidarity with the Minister Kyenge. Now let's just isolate the idiots," Rome Mayor Gianni Alemanno said.
"I am ashamed to share the country with people like this," wrote one Twitter user, Eugenio Iannelli, reflecting the dismay of many on the social media network.

The treatment of Ms Kyenge has thrown a spotlight on the ugly racist currents running through some strands of society in Italy, a country grappling with tensions over rising levels of immigration, particularly from North Africa.

Since her appointment in April she has suffered a campaign of harassment from far-right groups angered by her campaign to make it easier for immigrants to gain Italian citizenship.

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