Archive: Jul 2013

Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s first black minister, targeted with bananas

 The racist abuse and taunts endured by Italy’s first black minister, Cecile Kyenge, further escalated on Friday after a banana was hurled at her during a rally, sparking outrage across the political spectrum.

Kyenge, who is the minister for Integration, and is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was speaking at a political rally Cervia in central Italy, when someone in the audience threw bananas towards the stage, narrowly missing it.

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Some of Italy‘s top politicians on Saturday rallied behind the country’s first black minister, a target of racist slurs since her appointment in April, after a spectator threw bananas at her while she was making a speech.

The integration minister, Cécile Kyenge, who is originally from Democratic Republic of Congo, was appearing at a political rally in Cervia in central Italy on Friday, when someone in the audience threw bananas towards the stage, narrowly missing it.

Kyenge has faced almost daily racial slurs and threats since joining the government. Earlier this month a senator from the anti-immigration Northern League party likened her to an orangutan and only apologised after a storm of criticism.

Last month, a local Northern League councillor said Kyenge should be raped so she understands how victims of crimes committed by immigrants feel. The councillor has received a suspended jail sentence and a temporary ban from public office.

Shortly before Friday’s incident, members of the far-right Forza Nuova group left mannequins covered in fake blood near the site of the Democratic Party rally in protest against Kyenge’s proposal to make anyone born on Italian soil a citizen.

“Immigration kills,” was written on leaflets accompanying the dummies – a slogan Forza Nuova has previously used when referring to murders committed by immigrants in Italy.

But the group denied that one of its members had thrown the bananas. Police are trying to identify the culprit.

Kyenge responded to the gesture on Twitter, calling it “sad” and a waste of food.

“The courage and optimism to change things has to come above all from the bottom up to reach the institutions,” she said.

Several politicians, including her peers in prime minister Enrico Letta’s government, responded with messages of support and condemnation on Saturday.

Environment minister Andrea Orlando said on Twitter he felt “utmost indignation for this lowly act”, while the education minister, Maria Chiara Carrozza, praised Kyenge for her courage and determination in such a hostile climate.

Veneto region governor Luca Zaia from the Northern League, who is due to take part in an immigration debate with Kyenge in August, also spoke out against the incident on Saturday.

“Throwing bananas, personal insults … acts like these play no part in the civilised and democratic discussion needed between the minister and those who don’t share her opinion,” the ANSA news agency quoted him as saying.

Strange Fish at Ibadan turns out to be Baby Octopus – Police

The owner of the fish is still being held by the police.

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The Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, Mohammed Ndabawa, on Wednesday described as untrue the story of a fish with human parts reported in Ibadan on Tuesday.

The Oyo State capital was thrown into confusion on Tuesday when a middle-age woman, Ramota Salawu, raised the alarm thata fish she bought at Gege area of the town suddenly turned into a half human.

Hundreds of residents trooped to Akindele Compound, Gege, to catch a glimpse of the ‘miracle fish’ in a bucket where it was kept.

But the police boss, while addressing reporters in his office in Ibadan on Wednesday, said the object was a baby octopus, assuring the residents that they have no reason to fear.

He said people were merely spreading falsehood on the internet concerning the fish.

Ms. Salawu, who claimed to have bought the strange fish at Oke Ado, where she usually buys the item, claimed that it developed into aliving being shortly after it defrosted.

To debunk her claims, the state police boss displayed the fish to journalists on Wednesday.

He also said the woman was placed under protective custody and would be released when tension within the town is doused.