Italy's minister for labour, social policies and equal opportunities Elsa Fornero has condemned the appearance of homophobic graffiti outside a Rome school as a "new shameful episode."
The threatening graffiti, which said “Froci al rogo” and “Vi uccidiamo”, was written on the gates of the Socrate high school in the city's Garbatella district during the school’s recent closure for elections.
The messages were removed by “outraged” school authorities who underlined the institute's long-standing gay rights activism, citing last year's European award won by its students for a video they made against homophobia.
Minister Fornero said "This deplorable and dangerous act – considering also its intimidating content – should make each of us reflect on the necessity for a major cultural change."
The incident follows a similar controversy over homophobic graffiti outside the Cornelio Tacito high school in the Prati area of Rome at the beginning of February.
At the time, Nichi Vendola, the leader of the left-wing Sinistra Ecologia Libertà (SEL) party, claimed that he was afraid to go out by himself at night in the capital for fear of being insulted over his sexual orientation.
Responding to Vendola's description of Rome as a "homophobic city", the capital's mayor Gianni Alemanno said that Rome guaranteed "acceptance and respect for all" and highlighted the city’s involvement with Gaypride.