On 22nd July 2022, the environmental activist group Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) staged a protest action at Galleria degli Uffizi, in Florence. They glued themselves to the glass protecting the world-renowned “Primavera" painting by Botticelli and showed a banner reading “Ultima Generazione No Gas No Carbone (Last Generation, No Gas, No Coal)”. A series of attacks on journalists perpetrated by right-wing extremists were reported over July and August 2022.
ASGI requests publication of Italy-Gambia agreement for transparency reasons
On 4th July 2022, ASGI (the Association for Legal Studies on Migration) requested the publication of the agreement between Italy and Gambia on the repatriation of migrants to the African country. The Italian government refused to publish the agreement, explaining that it exclusively concerns the cooperation between the police corps of the two countries. In fact, Italian law establishes that the obligation to publish an agreement between Italy and a foreign country is valid only if it concerns an international agreement. ASGI maintains that the agreement foresees economic and legal obligations for Italy that would trigger its classification as an “international agreement”. This publication would be crucial to ensure monitoring by civil society of the international actions of the Italian government and its respect for international law and human rights. On 10th June 2022, the Court of Cassation asked the Presidency of the Council to make the agreement accessible to the public and civil society.
Environmental activists launch a “new season” of actions targeting museums
On 22nd July 2022, the environmental activist group Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) staged a protest action at Galleria degli Uffizi, in Florence. They glued themselves to the glass protecting the world-renowned “Primavera" painting by Botticelli and showed a banner reading “Ultima Generazione No Gas No Carbone (Last Generation, No Gas, No Coal)”. The activists declared that a new season of protests targeting museums had started and the action at Galleria degli Uffizi was just the first of a long series. In fact, they explained that the same care and attention directed towards artistic heritage should be dedicated to the protection of the environment. This action follows similar protests carried out in the UK by the group Just Stop Oil. The two women and a man, who had paid for their tickets, were expelled from the museum and taken away by police as a consequence of the action. The painting was not damaged as a result of the gluing.
On 18th August 2022, Last Generation carried out a similar protest in the Vatican Museums in Rome when two activists from the environmental group glued themselves to the Laocoonte statue. In their declarations, the protesters made a parallel between the destiny of Laocoonte, who died in an attempt to save himself, his sons and the entire community by alerting everyone to imminent danger, and the environmental movement. Similarly to Laocoonte, the environmental groups are not listened to, even though they are trying to save the planet and the people living on it.
Italian environmental activists staged a second museum protest in as many months, gluing their hands Thursday to the base of one of the Vatican Museums' most important ancient sculptures, the Laocoon. https://t.co/vp68uKskVR— The Associated Press (@AP) August 18, 2022
Journalists insulted and threatened by right-wing actors
A series of attacks on journalists perpetrated by right-wing extremists were reported over July and August 2022:
Several attacks on journalists while on assignment
Several attacks against journalists were documented while they were performing their work between the months of July and August 2022:
Journalist’s car set on fire in retaliation
During the night of 18th July 2022, the car belonging to journalist Francesco Digiorgio’s partner was set on fire while parked in the yard of the house in which the journalist and his pregnant partner were sleeping, not far from Rome. The noise awoke the journalist who intervened with a fire extinguisher and called the firefighters, who stopped the fire before major damage was caused. According to Digiorgio, the attack was in retaliation for his journalistic work as he had driven his partner's car while on assignments for a few days before the incident as his own car was being repaired. The journalist, who writes for the online publication Informare H24 and the magazine Il Prometeo and administers a Facebook news page for his hometown (Arcinazzo), has been reporting for years about the danger caused by animals let loose by local farmers. He specified that local farmers have used arson attacks in the past to intimidate rival farmers. He stated in an article on Informare H24 that he will never stop reporting and will not be intimidated by this mafia-like modus operandi.
Local politician and mafioso openly threaten reporters
On 28th August 2022, the candidate to the presidency of the Sicily Region and former mayor of Messina, Cateno De Luca, attacked journalist Giacinto Pipitone, from Giornale di Sicilia in several posts and a video published on Facebook over an article published on the same day. The politician also accused the local media of being the “information mafia”. The local association of journalists expressed their solidarity with Pipitone and Giornale di Sicilia and raised concerns over the attempt to influence local media ahead of elections.
Another worrying incident took place on 27th August 2022, when Arzano News journalist Mimmo Rubio was confronted in a threatening manner by a convicted mafioso, member of the Arzano clan 167. Police officers and journalist Giuseppe Bianco were present at the scene. The incident was immediately reported to the authorities. Shortly afterwards, the mother of the mafioso sent the journalist death threats on social media. Mimmo Rubio has been under police protection since 2020 as a consequence of his reporting on mafia issues.
“No vax” and “no war” written on La Stampa building
On 31st July 2022, the windows of the national newspaper La Stampa's building in Turin,were smeared with writings reading “no vax” and “no war”. The newspaper denounced the incident and declared that these acts of intimidation will not influence their journalistic activity. Several national-level political figures from the whole spectrum expressed their solidarity and condemned any attempts to limit freedom of expression.