Top Italian senator Roberto Calderoli slammed for comparing black minister Cecile Kyenge to orang-utan
Right-wing leader Roberto Calderoli faces calls from Italian cabinet to resign
An Italian senator has sparked outrage after he compared the country’s first black government minister to an orang-utan, with Prime Minister Enrico Letta calling the comments “unacceptable” and “beyond every limit”.
Roberto Calderoli, vice president of the Senate and leader of the right-wing, anti-immigration Northern League party, was speaking at a political rally in northern Italy on Saturday.
Referring to the Immigration Minister Cecile Kyenge, Calderoli is reported by the Corriere della Sera newspaper as saying: “When I see images of Kyenge I cannot help think, even if I don't say that she is one, of a resemblance to an orang-utan.”
Kyenge is an eye surgeon with Italian citizenship but was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Speaking about her political success, Calderoli said: “Perhaps she should do it in her own country.”
He was also quoted as saying she “makes so many clandestine migrants who come here dream” that they will find “America” in Italy.
Prime Minister Letta, who appointed Kyenge as a minister in April, said in a statement that the comments were unacceptable and that she had his “full solidarity and support”.
The Northern League isn't in power, but is the closest political ally of former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right party, which is Letta's main partner in the coalition government. There were calls for Calderoli to resign, including from one of Kyenge's fellow ministers, Gianpiero D'Alia.
And while Kyenge refused to call for the senator’s resignation herself, she said she hoped all politicians would “reflect on their use of communication”.
She told the Ansa news agency: “I do not take Calderoli's words as a personal insult but they sadden me because of the image they give of Italy.”
Kyenge has lived in Italy since 1983. She received death threats before a recent visit to the northern region that is Calderoli's party base, and a local politician was fired for suggesting on Facebook that someone should rape Kyenge so she “can understand what victims of atrocious crimes feel.” The League's leaders blame immigrants for violent crime in Italy.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Harrison Ford plane crash: Actor will make full recovery thanks to 'beautifully executed' landing
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Oxford whistleblower's attempt to protect young victim of a sadistic gang went unheeded
How Homer Simpson discovered the Higgs boson over a decade before scientists
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...
£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...