Last Generation environmentalists are being taken out after showing a banner against the use of fossil fuels in the Trevi Fountain in Rome on Sunday. AP
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 poured a vegetable-based carbon liquid into it, before being pulled 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.”
In this combo photo, climate activists hold banners after pouring vegetable charcoal in the Trevi Fountain water, during a demonstration against fossil fuels. Reuters
The protest came as Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni arrived in Emilia Romagna to visit areas devastated 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 activists shouted, as tourists packed in around the fountain in Rome’s historic centre snapped photographs, applauded or booed.
Police pulling the protesters out also confiscated their banners against government-funded fossil fuels.
Mattia, 19, who did not give his last name, was cited 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 pointed to a report by the Bank of Italy earlier this month that found 23 percent of Italian houses were at risk of flooding, at a potential 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 damage 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.
Last Generation began carrying out peaceful but disruptive protests in Italy last year ahead of the general election, urging politicians from all parties to make climate change their priority.
The protests in Italy are part of a series of actions across Europe to focus attention on climate change.
Activists have thrown soup, cake, mashed potatoes or washable paint at heritage and culture sites and artworks in museums.