‘No Africanization here’: Milan’s palm trees burned following right-wing protests (VIDEO & IMAGES)
A group of recently planted palm trees outside Milan’s Duomo cathedral was set on fire on Sunday, shortly after protests by nationalist movements opposed to the perceived “Africanization” of the area.
Security footage from the piazza showed one of the trees on fire during the early hours of Sunday. Three trees were set on fire with one suffering substantial damage, officials told La Republica.
The incident came hours after supporters of anti-immigrant Northern League and CasaPound, a radical right-wing movement, gathered at the city’s famous piazza to demonstrate against the trees described as a mockery of Italian culture.
Bananas were handed out to passersby by supporters of the parties who held a banner reading ‘No Africanization of the square.’
CasaPound in strada a Milano contro "l'africanizzazione di piazza Duomo".— Vincenzo Marino (@wyncenzo) February 18, 2017
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Palm trees at the town centre of Milano. It reads"no to the Africanisation of Milan. Palm trees! pic.twitter.com/ahdnsYOHvI— PhunkNutty (@NuttyPhunk) February 19, 2017
When the trees first appeared last week Matteo Salvini, the leader of the Northern League remarked “All we need now are camels and monkeys and we will really have Africa in Italy.”
The trees at one of Italy's most celebrated cathedrals have caused controversy on two counts – some Italians oppose the presence of a non-native species and others are angry at the involvement of Starbucks, who sponsored the planting of the cluster.
The coffee company plan to open up to 300 outlets in the coffee-loving nation renowned for its suspicion of big brands seen as misrepresenting its traditional customs and cuisine.