- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 28, 2013

Italy’s first black government minister, an avid supporter of immigration reform and a target of racial slurs since her appointment in April, was giving a speech Friday when a member of the audience began to chuck bananas at her.

The bananas missed Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but the incident drew outrage in the media, where pundits lamented the shame brought on the country “by the actions of the far-right,” The Telegraph reported.

“Another shameful and disgraceful gesture. Solidarity with the Minister Kyenge. Now let’s just isolate the idiots,” said Gianni Alemanno, former mayor of Rome.

“I am ashamed to share the country with people like this,” echoed one Twitter user.

Mrs. Kyenge has suffered harassment from far-right groups such as Forza Nuova who are angered by her campaign to make it easier for immigrants to gain Italian citizenship, The Telegraph reported.

The integration minister condemned the act Friday, calling it “sad” and a waste of food, considering the economic crisis, The Telegraph said.

“The courage and optimism to change things has to come above all from the bottom up to reach the institutions,” she added.

Politicians also have made derogatory comments toward Mrs. Kyenge. A senior parliamentarian in the anti-immigration Northern League party likened her to an orangutan earlier this month, The Telegraph reported.

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