Watch: Activists deface Rome's iconic fountain with black liquid 'to highlight impact of climate change'
A group of climate activists in Italy Saturday staged a protest against fossil fuel consumption by pouring vegetable-based charcoal-black liquid into Rome's famous Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi. The group, known as Ultima Generazione, is associated with the campaign "WE DON'T PAY FOR FOSSIL." It said in a statement, “Our future is as black as this water: without water there is no life.”
Significance of the Fiumi Fountain
The Fiumi Fountain, also known as the Fountain of Four Rivers, was built in 1651 by Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini in Rome's famous Piazza Navona plaza. The fountain features statues depicting the four main rivers of the Earth, one for each continent known at the time: the Danube, the Ganges, the Nile, and the Rio de la Plata. The activists chose this fountain to symbolize the importance of water for human life and how the current climate crisis threatens this equilibrium.
The Italian govt condemns the protest
The Italian government condemned the protest, and members of the group were arrested and are now facing accusations of defacing a public monument. Italy’s minister of culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, slammed the activists' protest, saying those guilty must "pay out of their own pockets."
He said, “As I have explained many times, these are acts against the environment which they claim to want to defend because the notion of landscape includes what beautiful things over centuries of history human genius has produced.”
“Experts talk about the anthropization of the environment. Now again, a lot of water will have to be used to clean up and costs incurred to restore the state of the monument – and (paying for it) will be Italian citizens,” the minister added.
Second fountain to be defaced in Italy
The same group had previously staged protests at other Italian historical sites, including the Barcaccia fountain in Rome's centre, which they also poured dark liquid into last month. The group said that it was done to highlight dangers to the water resources due to global warming. "Those in power are wreaking far worse havoc before our eyes. How can we accept that we continue to give money to those responsible for pollution and destructive weather?" the group said in a Tweet.
Climate activists allege that the government continues to use taxpayer funds to support the fossil fuel sector rather than taking action to preserve crops, the economy, and, most importantly, the population.