Rome | The statue of a famous Italian journalist was degraded and stained with red paint on Saturday evening by strangers in a garden in Milan, AFP noted.
The statue dedicated to Indro Montanelli, placed in the garden of the same name, in the center of Milan, was covered with red paint, starting with the character’s head.
The inscription “racist, rapist” was tagged with black paint on the base of the statue.
It is the first damaged statue in Italy, since the wave of demonstrations sparked around the world by the case of George Floyd, African-American who died in the United States on May 25 under the knee of a white policeman during his arrest.
Sunday morning, a city official was trying to repair the damage with a powerful sprayer, AFP noted. Walkers considered the act “absurd”, denouncing this “vandalism”.
“It is absurd to be against the people who built the history of Italy and history in general,” condemned one of them, Franjo Ljuljdjuraj. “He was a great man and it is impossible that we do not leave his statue here.”
Angelo Angelino, a 30-year-old Milanese nurse, said he was outraged on Sunday this act of “rage” against a “journalist who was absolutely not racist, but lived simply with his time and demonstrated during his long career that he was not an extremist. “
For Andrea Fares, another Milan resident met on the spot, “it is an act of insane vandalism”. “Montanelli was, in my opinion, of liberal sensitivity. In his past there were somewhat questionable episodes, but when he was very young and in a very particular historical context. That does not justify such an ugly act, ”deplored the 61-year-old lawyer.
Founder of the newspaper “Il Giornale, Indro Montanelli” (1909-2001) is a famous Italian journalist and essayist, notably passed by the “Corriere della Sera”.
Classified on the right, the man defined himself as “anti-communist” and “anarcho-conservative”, which earned him to be labeled as “fascist” by the Italian left during the 70s and 80s.
In 1935 he volunteered for the colonial war in Eritrea led by Mussolini.
In recent days, an “anti-fascist” Milanese association, I Sentinelli, had demanded from the mayor of Milan the removal of the statue, accusing him of having been guilty of having taken a child in Ethiopia for a wife. the Italian colonialist period in Africa.
“In Milan, there is a park and a statue dedicated to Montanelli, who until the end of his days claimed with pride the fact of having bought and married a Eritrean child of twelve years to transform her into a sex slave during the aggression of Ethiopia by the fascist regime “, accused this association on social networks.
Mayor Beppe Sala rejected this request, supported in this by the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs Luigi di Maio.
The statue has already been targeted in the past. It had been covered in pink paint last year during a feminist demonstration.
Anti-racist protests after the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police in the United States have given rise to the debunking or degradation of several statues of controversial figures around the world.