Fossil Fuel Protest Cleaned Up

Defaced with red and yellow paint on the morning of Sunday, Feb. 12, the headquarters of the Tuscan Regional Council on via Cavour in Florence has been restored to its original state. The vandalism on the Regional Council building was carried out with paint-filled fire extinguishers in protest of the new regasification terminal in the port of Piombino. The most recent public protest of the #NonPaghiamoilFossile (#Don’tPayforFossilFuels) campaign, organized by the Latest Generation environmental group, aims to spread awareness about the ongoing climate crisis occurring in Tuscany and worldwide.

The regasification terminal planned offshore of Piombino will take liquified natural gas and convert it back to its original state of gas. Supporters of the #Don’tPayTheFossil movement refuse to let their taxes fund practices of using fossil fuels as well as those that pose a threat to the environment.

In 2021 over 40 billion euros were invested in environmentally harmful subsidies, referred to as SADs, that alter the well-being of the environment at a dangerous rate. Official report readings state that the Tuscan region’s current environmental policies put in place by the government will not achieve the goal of keeping the projected rise in temperature below 1.5° Celsius (2.7° Fahrenheit), but instead reveal the temperature will rise, at minimum, 2.5° Celsius (3.7° Fahrenheit) .

“I cannot watch these areas be destroyed as we continue to invest in fossil fuels, which are well known to be one of the biggest culprits of climate change. This is the only way to avoid being ignored as it has been for decades now,” said Nicole, an Italian citizen who supports the Latest Generation movement.

Simone Ficicchia, the leader of the campaign, held a banner during the protest that read “Stop subsidies to fossil fuel projects.” The media filmed the plastering of the red and yellow washable paint on the palace doors along with speeches given by demonstrators about the negative environmental impact caused by the use of fossil fuels.

Police arrived at the scene quickly and the activists were taken to the station in Via Farini where they were then booked for various offenses.

“I thank the Police, Carabinieri and the Municipal Police for having intervened promptly and having identified those responsible. These gestures only communicate violence and contempt for public property and the institutions and must be condemned without hesitation,” said Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence.

The campaign speaks volumes of the passion the Latest Generation has for preserving the environment from permanent damage caused by fossil fuels. The president of the Tuscan region, Eugenio Giani, said that the vandalism of significant places, such as those that symbolize freedom and democratic involvement, is intolerable.

“Regarding the dispute regarding Piombino’s regasification terminal, I will not be intimidated by anyone in carrying out my task as commissioner of the works, which will makes us more independent of Russia’s gas thanks to the 5 million cubic meters of natural gas projected to be generated per year,” said Giani.  (Parker Hurley)

To read more in Italian, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.