In this Tuesday, July 16, 2013 photo, Italian Senate Vice President Roberto Calderoli, left, shakes hands with Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge, inside the Senate, in Rome. Prosecutor Francesco Dettori confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, that Calderoli is officially under investigation for aggravated defamation for racial hatred for his recent racist slur against Kyenge, Italy’s first black Cabinet minister. Calderoli, a leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League, has been criticized by Italy’s president, premier and a host of ministers and lawmakers for having compared the Congolese-born integration minister to an orangutan. The vice president rejected calls for his resignation Tuesday, saying he was sorry and would send her a bouquet of flowers. (AP Photo/Mauro Scrobogna, Lapresse) ITALY OUT
MILAN (AP) — Italy’s first black minister has demanded that the leader of the anti-immigrant Northern League political party put “a clear and sharp” stop to racist remarks directed at her by members of his party.
Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge said Tuesday that she told Roberto Maroni that the behavior of some members of the Northern League had become “intolerable.”
Kyenge has been the target of numerous racist outbursts since accepting the Cabinet post in Enrico Letta’s 3-month-old government.
In the latest incidents, Northern League council members walked out of a meeting she attended in a town near Milan and a Northern League official near Padua likened her to a gorilla in a Facebook post.
Kyenge says she won’t be intimidated into stepping down, nor does she believe Italians in general are racist.