Seven climate activists, representing the Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) group, made a striking statement in Rome as they climbed into the historic Trevi Fountain and poured diluted charcoal into the water, resulting in its transformation to a dark shade.
The protesters showcased banners that boldly declared their refusal to support fossil fuels, while their voices echoed the chant, “Our country is dying.”
The act caught the attention of uniformed police officers who intervened by wading into the fountain to remove the activists. The incident was captured on video, with numerous tourists filming the spectacle, and some onlookers responded with insults directed at the protesters.
Ultima Generazione released a statement alongside their protest, demanding an end to public subsidies for fossil fuels and highlighting the connection between their demonstration and the recent devastating floods in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. The group emphasized that one out of every four houses in Italy faces the risk of flooding.
Rome’s mayor, Roberto Gualtieri, expressed condemnation of the protest, considering it as yet another act in a series of attacks on artistic heritage within Italy. In a tweet, he expressed his frustration, stating, “Enough of these absurd attacks on our artistic heritage.”
The Trevi Fountain, an 18th-century masterpiece, holds a cherished tradition where visitors toss coins into its waters, symbolizing their hope to return to Rome someday. The climate activists’ act of vandalizing the fountain has sparked a mix of emotions among locals and tourists.
This event serves as a reminder of the ongoing global conversation surrounding climate change and the varied approaches activists adopt to draw attention to the urgent need for environmental action. While the protesters aimed to raise awareness about climate issues and fossil fuel subsidies, their actions have generated controversy due to the damage inflicted upon an iconic landmark.
The incident at the Trevi Fountain highlights the intricate balance between preserving cultural heritage and addressing environmental concerns. It underscores the complex dialogue surrounding climate activism and the divergent methods employed to amplify messages about the environment.