Italy's first Black cabinet minister has been targeted by more racist insults and abuse ...
Several bananas were thrown at Italy's Integration Minister Cécile Kyenge during a political rally on Friday, report BBC and The Guardian. Kyenge is an eye surgeon who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and emigrated to Italy more than 30 years ago.
[Kyenge] was giving a speech in the town of Cervia on the Adriatic coast on Friday. After the bananas narrowly missed the stage, she chided the unknown culprit for "wasting food". On Sunday she said that the unrelenting barrage of hostility since she became minister in April was more vicious than she had anticipated, but would not stop her doing her job.
"I cannot hide that at times I feel tired of the repetition of such serious insults. I did not expect them to be this strong," she told daily newspaper La Repubblica. "But I will not stop or dwell on the attacks themselves. I am trying to look ahead, to reflect on the discomfort that we must understand is behind these incidents and on how politics and society as a whole can best respond."
Since her inclusion in Enrico Letta's grand coalition prompted one MEP in the xenophobic Northern League to brand it a "bongo bongo" government, Kyenge has been the target of repeated racial abuse. Before her arrival in Cervia, police said they had found mannequins daubed with blood-red paint and bearing signs reading: "Immigration kills".
Since assuming her position last spring, Kyenge has been targeted by so much "violent" racist abuse from right-wing politicians and neo-Nazi groups that the government has opened an online investigation. Earlier this month, a senior member of parliament in Italy's anti-immigration Northern League party has "likened the country's first Black minister to an orangutan."
Italian football phenom Mario Balotelli has also been targeted by vicious racist abuse. Hundreds of Croatian fans hurled racist abuse, monkey chants" and threw several bananas at him during a June 2012 match.