Climate activists in Italy turned Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain black on Sunday, saying floods that have killed 14 people in the country’s northeast were “a warning”.
Activists from the anti-climate change organisation Last Generation climbed into the landmark fountain and dumped a vegetable-based carbon liquid into it, before being taken out and escorted away by police.
The Trevi Fountain’s most iconic moment saw Swedish actress Anita Ekberg go for a dip in Federico Fellini’s film “La Dolce Vita”.
The demonstration came as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni showed up in Emilia Romagna to visit areas shattered by floods described as the worst in a century after six months worth of rains fell in 36 hours.
Over 36,000 people have been displaced by the disaster, with costs in the hundreds of millions of euros.
“Our country is dying!” the protesters yelled, as tourists crowded in around the fountain in Rome’s historic centre took photographs, applauded or booed.
Police pulling the protesters out also confiscated their banners against government-funded fossil fuels.
Mattia, 19, who failed to give his last name, was stated as taking part “because the horrible tragedy experienced in these days in Emilia Romagna is a forewarning of the black future that awaits mankind”.
Last Generation noted a report by the Bank of Italy previously this month that found 23 percent of Italian houses were in danger of flooding, at a plausible cost of three billion euros yearly.
“While the climate crisis knocks at the door, breaking riverbanks and flinging fish into the streets, the Italian government cuts resources for soil protection” and fails on climate change mitigation, it said.
The environmental group said the carbon liquid used for the protest did not harm the fountain.
But Rome mayor Roberto Gualtieri said the clean-up would “cost time, effort and water, because this is a fountain which uses recirculating water”.
“We now have to empty it, and throw away 300,000 litres of water,” he said.
The protests in Italy are part of a sequence of actions across Europe to put a focal point and attention on climate change.
Activists have scattered soup, cake, mashed potatoes or washable paint at heritage and culture sites and artworks in museums.
— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) May 21, 2023
One of Rome’s most treasured and beautiful sites, the Trevi Fountain. Here’s a bunch of climate activist morons pouring black dye into the crystalline waters. Sick and wrong. Prosecute the vandals! pic.twitter.com/Mmght4w8hV
— Fernando Amandi Sr.🌐 (@FernandoAmandi) May 21, 2023