Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Outspoken Italian senator
A senator from Italy's anti-immigration Northern League has come under fire for saying Cecile Kyenge, the country's first black minister, resembles an orangutan.
Prime Minister Enrico Letta said the remark by Senator Roberto Calderoli on Saturday was "unacceptable".
"I love animals... but when I see pictures of Kyenge, I cannot help thinking of similarities with an orangutan," he was quoted as saying at a party meeting in the northern city of Treviglio.
The remark went viral in social media, sparking widespread denunciation.
Khalid Chaouki and Gianni Cuperlo, two lawmakers from the centre-left Democratic Party, demanded the resignation of Mr Calderoni, who is deputy speaker of the Senate.
Mr Calderoli is famous for his provocative comments and actions. In 2006, he was forced to resign from the government of then prime minister Silvio Berlusconi after wearing a T-shirt printed with cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed.
He doesn't seem to be backing down, either. Political correctness does not seem to come easily to Italians so incorrectness is tolerated more there than elsewhere. His perception of Africans as similar to other primates was once common.