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Climate activists in Italy dye canals and rivers green

Protests in Venice, Milan, Rome, Turin and Bologna.

Rivers and canals in several major Italian cities on Saturday were dyed green by the Extinction Rebellion (XR) group as part of a protest calling for action to tackle the climate crisis.

The group poured fluorescent green liquid into the Grand Canal in Venice as activists suspended from ropes at Rialto Bridge unfurled a banner that read "COP28: while the government talks, we hang on by a thread".

Dangling over the Grand Canal, the protesters denounced “the failure of global leadership to address the climate crisis and the sixth mass extinction", before being taken away by police.

The protests - which also targeted rivers and canals in Bologna, Milan, Rome and Turin - came as the two-week 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) draws to an end in Dubai.

The group said they used a "harmless" fluorescein tracer dye to draw attention to their protest, stating: “In a few hours, these waters will return to how they were before. The colour of our seas and rivers, however, will continue to change as temperatures continue to rise."

In a post on X, Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro slammed the "eco-vandals", noting that the city had to stop boat traffic as a precaution "due to the acrobatics and antics of the activists".

"This time we are also reporting them for 'interruption of public service' and we really hope they end up in jail", Brugnaro said.

The protests came two days after climate activists from Ultima Generazione sprayed liquid mud onto the façade of St Mark's Basilica in Venice as part of a protest they termed "a fire alarm".

"Venice will soon be under water, there will no longer be any of this. It will be covered in mud and we will die" - the activists shouted - "If you love this city as much as we do, join us in asking the government to eliminate fossil fuels."

Photo Luigi Brugnaro X

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