Environmental activists ‘spat on by drivers’ during protest in Rome | Italy
Italian activists have blocked a main road in Rome as part of a series of protests to urge the government to take action to tackle the climate crisis.
Activists, from the Extinction Rebellion-backed group Last Generation, claim they were slapped, kicked and spat on by angry drivers after they gathered along the Maglianella viaduct on the A90 motorway.
It was the eighth time environmental activists have blocked a road in Rome in the past 10 days, with eight activists arrested on Wednesday.
Peter, who was one of seven people demonstrating on Friday morning, said: “I expose myself to danger and uncertainty because I am aware of the danger we face to humanity.”
This is the first time that Italian climate activists have used the roadblock method to raise awareness, and comes as a civil lawsuit, brought by 203 plaintiffs suing the government for failing to resolve the climate crisis, opens in Rome.
The main goal of activists of the last generation is to force the government to establish a citizens’ assembly to urge politicians to take swift action to resolve climate issues.
“The assembly is supposed to be created by the government by the end of 2022 and the decisions it takes will have to become law, so it’s not just about giving advice to the government,” said Beatrice Costantino , spokesperson for Last Generation.
“We are a small group of people but we will repeat this action until our request is accepted. We also request a meeting with [prime minister] Mario Draghi and other ministers. The purpose of the meeting is to ask them why the government is leaving Italian citizens without any strategy to deal with the climate crisis.
Pledging to put the environment at the top of his government’s agenda, Draghi created a ministry of “ecological transition” after being appointed prime minister in February. About € 59 billion (£ 51 billion) of the more than € 200 billion Italy is due to receive from the EU’s post-pandemic economic stimulus fund has been allocated for investments in green initiatives .
Costantino said the government’s promises so far have only been “greenwashing”. “They want to make it look like they’re thinking about the problem, but it’s really not enough,” she said.
Plaintiffs taking legal action against the government want Rome’s civil court to order the government to adopt more ambitious climate policies, such as cutting carbon emissions by 92% by 2030. In 2019, l Italy has set itself a target of 33% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030..
Italy is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The melting of the country’s glaciers is accelerating, while extreme weather events, such as the rare flooding that hit the Sicilian city of Catania in October, are on the rise. Italy suffered a long heat wave this summer, with a city in Sicily reportedly breaking the European record for the highest temperature on record – 48.8 ° C – in August. The heatwave also exacerbated forest fires, especially in southern Italy.
“Italy is a real climate hotspot,” said Costantino. “2021 was also a bad year for Italian agriculture – we lost one in four fruits and almost 80% of the olives.”
Another roadblock is scheduled for Saturday.
“The point of taking disruptive action is to get people to agree with the cause. Some pilots have shown their support, ”said Costantino. “We’re not looking to be loved by people, but to talk about issues.”