ROME – Italian police on Monday were investigating far-right militants suspected of hanging nooses to protest Italy’s first black Cabinet minister, Cecile Kyenge, two days after a senator compared her to an orangutan.
The nooses appeared on lampposts with posters signed by far-right group Forza Nuova in the city of Pescara, where the minister for integration was attending an immigration and citizenship conference.
Kyenge, who is of Congolese origin, has called for a reform of Italian law to make it easier for children born to immigrant parents to acquire citizenship.
Prime Minister Enrico Letta called for an end to the insults against Kyenge, saying this was a “shameful chapter” for Italy.
Since her April appointment to the Cabinet, Kyenge has faced a barrage of abuse. Mario Borghezio, a Northern League member of the European Parliament, said her nomination was “bloody stupid” and that she had “a face like a housewife,” while one local party activist, in a vicious Facebook rant about crimes committed by immigrants, said the minister should be raped.