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A climate activist sprays St. Mark's Basilica in Venice


Edoardo Fioretto v EPO-EFE

A group of climate activists has defaced St. Mark's Basilica in Venice in protest against what they see as an inadequate climate policy. Using fire extinguishers, activists sprayed a brown liquid on the façade and columns of the world-famous building on Thursday.

Some tourists, who happened to be present, supported the protest. A woman and her daughter joined the demonstrators in front of the basilica and helped to hold up one of their orange placards, reports the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

According to initial information, there was no permanent damage. The dirt could be removed with cleaning agents.

Demand for compensation fund

"You are the last to see this church above sea level," one demonstrator shouted, reports Corriere della Sera. The activists unfurled a banner reading "Repair Fund," as seen in pictures.

"We demand a 20 billion euro compensation fund to protect the victims of climate collapse," they told bystanders, according to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Six of the activists in police custody

"It's no coincidence that we're here in Venice, this city will be completely under water in less than 20 years," one of the activists said, according to Corriere della Sera. We love Venice and we don't want it to be destroyed like everything else in the world."

The mayor of the northern Italian city, Luigi Brugnaro, condemned the action. Six of the activists were taken into police custody.

The Italian right-wing government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has already decided on stricter penalties if sights are defaced. In the future, fines of up to 60,000 euros are to be imposed for this. However, the final approval by Parliament is still pending.