Italy's first black minister hit with racist insult

Share this article

File photo of Cecile Kyenge: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
20:56 CEST+02:00
An Italian far-right group unfurled a racist banner against Congolese-born Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, who is Italy's first black minister, local media reported on Thursday.

"Kyenge, Go Back to Congo" read a banner put up by the group in the central city of Macerata outside an office of the minister's leftist Democratic Party.

The group, Forza Nuova, said in a statement: "You cannot sell off Italian citizenship to elements that are foreign to our culture, just as we cannot force citizens to applaud a multi-racial society."

Kyenge and the Democratic Party have called for children born to immigrants in Italy to be given citizenship -- a proposal opposed by its coalition partner, the centre-right People of Freedom party.

Kyenge, 49, an eye doctor, arrived in Italy in 1983 from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"They will not stop me. I want to start a debate and not impose any model," she said on Thursday.

Story continues below…

Kyenge has already been a target of insults from far-right groups, as well as lawmakers from the  populist and xenophobic Northern League party.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta and his centre-right deputy Angelino Alfano were forced to defend her saying: "Cecile Kyenge is proud to be black and we are proud to have her in our government."

Share this article

From our sponsors

Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections

Election Day in the U.S. is less than a month away, and time is running out for Americans living overseas to vote absentee. Here's what to do before it’s too late.


Popular articles