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Climate activists turn famed Roman fountain black

April 1, 2023

Activists of the Last Generation group dyed Rome's "Fontana della Barcaccia" black to protest fossil fuels, seeking to draw attention to Italy's drought that has been linked to climate change.

Last Generation activists pour black liqiud into the Barcaccia fountain
The fountain is at the bottom of the Spanish Steps, a world-famous tourist attraction in RomeImage: Vincenzo Livieri/ZUMA Wire/IMAGO

Police in Italy arrested three climate activists who turned the water in the historic Baroque-style fountain at the foot of Rome's Spanish Steps black on Saturday.

The climate activist group Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) claimed responsibility, saying it was in protest against fossil fuels.

The famous 17th-century fountain, which has the shape of a boat, was designed by famed Italian sculptor Pietro Bernini and is today among the array of popular tourist destinations in Rome. Activists used a vegetable-based carbon liquid to dye the water black, before police arrested them.

"It is absurd that you are scandalized by gestures like these, while we are living through a drought emergency that has put agriculture, energy production... our own subsistence, in crisis," the activists wrote onn Twitter.

Rome's mayor Roberto Gualtieri condemned the action saying it does not help the environment.

To prevent the stone from absorbing the dye, authorities drained the water from the fountain..

Police approach one of the activist from the anti-climate change organisation Last Generation who poured liquid into the landmark 17th-century fountain, known to Romans as La Barcaccia
The protests in Italy are part of a series of actions across Europe to focus attention on climate changeImage: Vincenzo Livieri/ZUMA Wire/IMAGO

German climate activists fined for traffic disruption

Meanwhile, authorities in the German state of Baden-Württemberg said on Saturday 63 people had been fined a total of €7200 ($7800) for disrupting traffic.

Activists of the Letzte Generation (Last Generation) have held several demonstrations in Germany, including glueing themselves to roads or roping down bridges.

The fine for each activist will depend on the extent of the disruption caused.

It follows similar measures in the state of Bavaria. There, police have also placed some activists in so-called preventative detention.

In December, police raided eleven residences across Germany as part of an investigation into the climate activism group.

lo/jcg (AFP, dpa, EFE)