Italian rightists target black minister with bloody mannequins
ROME (Reuters) - Italy's far-right Forza Nuova party left three mannequins covered in fake blood at the front door of a city administrative office in Rome on Wednesday in the latest attack on Italy's first black minister, Cecile Kyenge.
Integration Minister Kyenge, who was born in Democratic Republic of Congo, has been the target of repeated racist attacks since taking office in April.
Forza Nuova posted pictures of the mannequins on its Facebook page, along with comments by a spokesman saying the protest was aimed at stopping the minister's campaign to make it easier for immigrants to acquire Italian citizenship.
"Immigration is the genocide of peoples. Kyenge resign!" read fliers bearing the Forza Nuova symbol that were scattered around the dummies.
An immigrant must now live legally in Italy for at least 10 years before requesting citizenship, and children of immigrants born in Italy are not automatically made citizens, a situation that Kyenge is campaigning to change.
"Her words overflow with racism against European culture," Forza Nuova's Pablo De Luca said.
Her political activity was aimed at "the destruction of the national identity", he said.
It was at least the second time that Forza Nuova has used the mannequins covered in fake blood in such a protest.
De Luca cited recent news items as evidence that "immigration kills", hence the simulation of dead bodies.
In May, a Ghanaian immigrant in Milan who reportedly suffered from mental problems killed three people and injured two others in a rampage with a pickaxe. Forza Nuova made no direct reference to this attack.
Authorities have intensified security at the local headquarters of the Democratic Party (PD), where Kyenge, 49, is scheduled to speak later on Wednesday.
The gesture was condemned by fellow PD politicians.
"Rome is a city with a tradition of taking in all peoples for millennia," Mayor Ignazio Marino said in a statement.
"An isolated gesture by a handful of violent individuals will not stop the courageous work that the integration minister is doing."
Kyenge has faced almost daily racial slurs and threats since joining the government.
In July, a senator from the anti-immigration Northern League party likened her to an orangutan and a spectator threw bananas at her while she was making a speech at a political rally in central Italy.
A local Northern League councilor said in June that Kyenge should be raped so she understands how victims of crimes committed by immigrants feel. The councilor has received a suspended jail sentence and a temporary ban from public office.
(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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