ROME >> A pair of bare-chested protesters smeared themselves with mud outside the Senate building in Rome today to protest fossil fuel use and remind people of the dangers of flooding linked to climate change.
Police quickly removed the two. Since last year, an activist group called Last Generation has staged numerous attention-grabbing events in Italy, including pouring black liquid in the Trevi Fountain in Rome and gluing themselves to the glass protecting the Botticelli masterpiece “Spring” in the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, to highlight the harm that fossil fuels cause to the environment and its role in global warming.
The activists used mud to remind people of last week’s severe flooding in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy, where 21 rivers overran their banks and hundreds of mudslides were triggered by a heavy concentration of downpours on rain-parched land.
The flooding killed at least 14 people, destroyed farms and businesses, inundated houses, isolated hamlets and led to the evacuation of 36,000 people.
Meteorologists and other experts said the flooding was part of climate change phenomena that include long stretches of drought punctuated by extremely heavy and concentrated rainfall that can’t be absorbed by parched terrain.