Statue of famous Italian journalist defaced.

Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Milan, Italy — The statue of a famous Italian journalist, Indro Montanelli, has been defaced with red paint and graffiti painted on the plinth of the statue, with the words “racist, rapist”.

This is the first attack on a statue of Italy since anti-racism protests broke out across the world, sparked by the death of George Floyd in US police custody.

Montanelli died at the age of 92 in 2001. He was the most decorated and influential Italian journalist of the 20th Century. However, During Italy’s colonial occupation in the 1930s, until the end of his days Montanelli said with pride, that he bought and married a 12 year old Eritrean girl during the fascist regime’s aggression against Ethiopia.

“I think I chose well. She was a beautiful girl of 12 years,” Montanelli told the talkshow in 1969, adding with a smile.

A group named Rete Studenti Milano e Lume claimed the attack and posted a short video of two hooded people throwing red paint on Montanelli’s statue. The group said that a colonialist who has made slavery an important part of his political activity cannot and should not be celebrated in a public square.

On Sunday, municipal workers cleaned the statue of Montanelli in Milan.

Although the anti-racism protesters called on Milan’s mayor to remove the statue, he refused it and said that the statue must remain where it is and that Montanelli was a great journalist who fought for the freedom of the press.

“When we judge our own lives, can we say that ours is spotless? Lives must be judged in their complexity.” stated the Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala.