Italian gets European support amid racist taunts

ROME (AP) — Cabinet ministers from more than a dozen European nations have come to Rome in a show of support for Italy’s first black Cabinet minister, who has faced racist taunts ever since she was appointed in April.

The ministers signed a declaration Monday condemning racism as anathema to Europe’s democratic principles. They said the attacks that Cecile Kyenge has been subjected to were unacceptable and must stop, particularly because they have come from politicians.

Members of Italy’s xenophobic Northern League party have called the Congolese-born Kyenge “Congolese monkey” and other epithets.

Belgium’s deputy prime minister, Joelle Milquet, sponsored the initiative. She said she was pleased that so many countries quickly agreed to support Kyenge and sign the declaration, which calls for a broader European pact against racism.

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