Bananas Tossed at Italy's First Black Minister

Follows senator's 'orangutan' comparison

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 28, 2013 8:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – As Italy's first black minister, Cecile Kyenge, spoke at a party rally Friday, a listener hurled bananas at her, the BBC reports. Police are seeking the person who tossed the fruit, which barely missed the integration minister. Fellow politicians slammed the incident, but it's not an isolated one: The senate's own vice president, from the anti-immigration Northern League party, recently compared Kyenge to an orangutan.

Roberto Calderoli apologized and said he planned to send her flowers. Earlier, a Northern League party member suggested on Facebook that Kyenge, who is from the Democratic Republic of Congo, should be raped so she understands the crimes immigrants perpetrate, the Independent notes. For her part, Kyenge called the banana attack a "waste of food," noting that "the courage and optimism to change things has to come, above all, from the bottom up to reach the institutions."

In this file photo taken on June 19, 2013, Italian Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge listens to a question during a press conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome.
In this file photo taken on June 19, 2013, Italian Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge listens to a question during a press conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome.   (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)
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