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Rome's mayor blasts 'absurd' climate protest at Trevi Fountain

A climate change protest in which a group of activists poured diluted charcoal to turn the water of Rome’s Trevi Fountain black has drawn a sharp rebuke from the Italian city’s mayor, who is calling for an end to such actions.

Rome Mayor Roberto Gualtieri is speaking out after video showed uniformed police wading into the waters of the popular tourist attraction to remove activists belonging to a group called “Ultima Generazione” – the Last Generation – according to Reuters. 

“Enough of these absurd attacks on our artistic heritage. Today smeared the #FontanadiTrevi,” Gualtieri wrote on Twitter Sunday. “Expensive and complex to restore, hoping that there is no permanent damage. I invite activists to compete on a confrontational terrain without putting the monuments at risk.” 

Climate protest Trevi Fountain

Climate activists pour diluted charcoal in the Trevi Fountain during a demonstration against fossil fuels, in Rome, Italy, on Sunday, May 21. (Alessandro Penso/Maps via Reuters)

Photos showed parts of the fountain’s water turning black. Seven climate activists reportedly participated in the protest. 

In a statement, Reuters cited Ultima Generazione as pushing for an end to public subsidies for fossil fuels while also drawing awareness to recent flooding in Italy’s northern Emilia-Romagna region, which left 14 dead. 

GERMAN GOVERNMENT DENIES THAT IT PUSHED TO WEAKEN COMMITMENT TO PHASE OUT NATURAL GAS 

Italian police arrest Trevi Fountain protesters

Climate activists are removed from the water by police at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy, on Sunday, May 21. (Alessandro Penso/Maps via Reuters)

Gualtieri was quoted by Euronews as saying that the fountain cleanup will “cost time, effort and water, because this is a fountain which uses recirculating water”. 

In the recent flooding, the coastal region of Emilia-Romagna was struck twice, first by heavy rain two weeks ago on drought-parched ground that could not absorb it, causing rivers to overflow overnight, followed by last week’s deluge that killed 14 and caused damages estimated in the billions of euros. 

Protester holds sign at Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

A climate activist holds a banner while standing in the Trevi Fountain. (Alessandro Penso/Maps via Reuters)

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The region’s location between the Apennine mountains and the Adriatic Sea trapped the weather system last week that dumped half the average annual amount of rain in 36 hours. Authorities on Friday said 43 towns were impacted by flooding and landslides, and that more than 500 roads had been closed or destroyed. 

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