Black Lives Matter: Rome activists rename street after George Floyd

After Milan, Rome becomes embroiled in Black Lives Matter statue debate.

A Rome street was symbolically renamed after George Floyd, the unarmed African American killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, by anti-racist activists on the night of 18 June.

Members of the group Rete Restiamo Umani renamed Via dell'Amba Aradam in the S. Giovanni area after Floyd and Bilal Ben Messaud, who died in Porto Empedocle last month while "trying to reach land, fleeing forced confinement on a ship", according to a statement on the group's Facebook page.

The activists placed a banner over the Metro C works on Via dell'Amba Aradam which stated (in Italian) that no station should be named after "oppression", and signed in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The activists also poured red paint over a bust of an Italian general, Antonio Baldiserra, located in the Pincio area of the central Villa Borghese park, in protest over his "violent and racist colonialism."

Baldissera was a general in charge of Italian troops in Eritrea and was governor of the Italian colony at the end of the 19th century.

The group pledged to "dismantle the symbols of colonialism in the capital", targeting Rome streets that recall "shameful massacres carried out by Italian soldiers in Ethiopia, such as Via dell'Amba Aradam" (named after a battle which took place in Ethiopia in 1936) or the "monuments that confer eternal glory on men guilty of the worst atrocities towards mankind."

The activism in Rome comes days after the defacing of the Milan monument to Indro Montanelli, the prominent right-wing Italian journalist who bought a 12-year-old Eritrean girl as his wife while serving in the Second Italo-Ethiopian War in 1936.

Cover photo: La Repubblica

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Address Via dell'Amba Aradam, 00184 Roma RM, Italy

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Black Lives Matter: Rome activists rename street after George Floyd

Via dell'Amba Aradam, 00184 Roma RM, Italy