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Home News Afro Briefs Originally published July 15, 2013

Italy Politician under Fire for Racist Slur

by Associated Press

  •   Click on the photo to view additional Photos.
    In this file photo taken on June 19 2013, Italian Integration Minister Cecile Kashetu Kyenge listens to a question during a press conference at the Foreign Press Club in Rome. Premier Enrico Letta has harshly criticized a top Italian senator who likened the country's first black Cabinet minister to an orangutan, the latest high-profile racist episode in a nation grappling with immigration. In a statement Sunday, Letta denounced Roberto Calderoli's words as "unacceptable" and "beyond every limit." Calderoli, the Senate's vice president and a leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League party, made denigrating remarks about Immigration Minister Cecile Kyenge while he was speaking at a party rally Saturday in northern Italy, the populist movement's power base. Photo/Domenico Stinellis (AP Photo)

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ROME (AP) — Calls are mounting for the Senate vice president to resign after he compared Italy's first black Cabinet minister to an orangutan.

Roberto Calderoli, a leader of the anti -immigrant Northern League, has insisted he was only joking when he made the "aesthetic" comment about Cecile Kyenge at a League rally last weekend.

Kyenge, a Congolese-born eye doctor, has been insulted with racist slurs from the Northern League ever since she was named integration minister in April.

Premier Enrico Letta on Monday told League leader Roberto Maroni to put an end to the slurs from within his party ranks, saying they shame the entire country.

Kyenge, for her part, has said it's not for her to demand Calderoli's resignation but that Italians should reflect on the merits of public office-holders.



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