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Rome climate activists stop traffic with naked protest

Protesters block traffic in central Rome.

Six climate activists linked to the Ultima Generazione group stopped traffic in the centre of Rome on Thursday morning by stripping off and lying down across Via del Tritone.

The male and female protesters, one of whom was completely naked, chained themselves together and bore messages against fossil fuels on their backs.

The topless protest, the latest in a string of roadblocks by climate activists in Rome, took place in front of surprised onlookers on the busy street between Via del Corso and Piazza Barberini.

The protesters called for action to tackle climate change, claiming they were baring themselves "vulnerable like the planet", before being carried off the street by police officers.

"Perhaps they will say that we are obscene. But I wonder. Are we obscene?" - one of the activists were quoted as saying - "Obscene is what happened yesterday in Emilia Romagna and the government, which knows that these extreme events will continue to happen and despite this continues to invest in fossil fuels."

"I am terrified by what will bring with it the shortage of food and water, the destruction of our lands and our homes, the massive impoverishment of people, the enormous migratory flows and rampant new diseases" - one of the activists said - "I feel extremely vulnerable, much more than I can feel with my half-naked body, blocking a road. I'd rather see myself doing everything possible, with my body, and non-violently today, than see me fight or defend myself for a piece of bread tomorrow."

The protest comes a month after the Italian government said it was studying a law to make those who damage cultural landmarks pick up the bill for the work required to restore the monuments they deface.

The Italian culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano announced the move after climate activists poured black liquid into the waters of the 17th-century Barcaccia fountain at the Spanish Steps in Rome. 

The fountain was promptly restored, and was not damaged, however authorities in Milan have faced difficulty in removing paint that activists threw over a monument in Piazza del Duomo.

In March the mayor of Florence Dario Nardella intervened personally to stop activists as they sprayed paint over the facade of Palazzo Vecchio.

Earlier this year climate activists sprayed paint on the Italian senate as well as covering Andy Warhol's painted car in flour in Milan and throwing pea soup onto a Van Gogh masterpiece in Rome.

Last summer they made international news headlines by gluing themselves to the protective glass in front of Botticell's Primavera at the Uffizi in Florence.

Photo Corriere della Sera

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