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Protest posters at the Rialto Bridge: Criticism of "ridiculous progress" at the climate conference

Photo: Manuel Silvestri / REUTERS

Climate activists have once again drawn attention to themselves in Italy with a spectacular action: members of the protest group Extinction Rebellion have painted the famous Grand Canal green in Venice.

Some activists rappelled down from the Rialto Bridge over the central canal of the northern Italian lagoon city on Saturday afternoon and poured dye into the water, the group said on social media. The water in the canal then shimmered green.

Visitors to the city, which is particularly popular with tourists, noticed that the water in the Grand Canal suddenly glowed green. Three Extinction Rebellion activists hung above them and spread out a large poster with the words "COP28: While the government talks, we're hanging by a thread," as seen in pictures. Onlookers gathered on the Rialto Bridge during the action – a few gondoliers could also be seen rowing by, taking photos with their mobile phones.

According to their own statements, the activists dumped fluorescin, a non-toxic substance used in tests in sewer networks, for example, into the water. They wanted to protest against the "ridiculous progress" made at the COP28 climate conference in Dubai. We are tired, we are tired of being taken for fools by our governments, knowing that our future is in danger while politicians are doing nothing," it said in a statement.

Mayor criticizes "eco-vandals"

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro called the protesters "eco-vandals" and called on Italian authorities to punish them. Venice is a fragile city, the mayor continued, and it is important to love and respect it. "Enough is enough!" says Brugnaro.

The protest group also took action in other Italian cities. In Milan, for example, she dyed the Naviglio Grande – the oldest and most famous of the Navigli canals known in the metropolis – green. But the group also took part in actions in Rome, Turin and Bologna.

In East Berlin, more than 150 environmental activists blocked the Elsen Bridge over the Spree, according to police. An alliance of Extinction Rebellion, Last Generation, Scientist Rebellion and other initiatives had called for the blockade on the Internet. Banners bore slogans such as "Stop fossil fuel subsidies" and criticism of the expansion of the 100 city highway. The construction site is close to the Spree Bridge to the south.