Italy's first black minister, previously called an 'orangutan' by a political opponent, has had bananas thrown at her making a speech at a rally.

Integration minister Cecile Kyenge, who was born in Democratic Republic of Congo, was appointed in April but has angered far-right groups with her campaign to make it easier for immigrants to gain Italian citizenship.

The radical rightist group Forza Nuova left mannequins covered in fake blood at the site of the rally in Cervia, with the slogan "Immigration Kills" pinned to them.


cecile kyenge

Italian Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge


Kyenge said on Twitter that the protest was a "waste of food" during a recession.

"The courage and optimism to change things has to come above all from the bottom up to reach the institutions," she wrote.

This month, Roberto Calderoli of the anti-immigration Northern League party likened her to an orangutan, only apologising after a storm of criticism.

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  • Prime Minister Enrico Letta

    <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/29/world/europe/italian-prime-ministers-political-acrobatics.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0" target="_blank">Notable previous positions: Deputy Secretary of the Democratic Party, Secretary of the cabinet under Romano Prodi, Industry Minister under Massimo D'Alema, Member of the European Parliament, president of the European Young Christian Democrats.</a> <em>The Prime Minister of Italy, Enrico Letta, addresses the media during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, unseen, as part of a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, April 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)</em>

  • Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano

    <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/27/us-italy-vote-ministers-idUSBRE93Q09D20130427" target="_blank">Notable previous positions: Secretary of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party, Justice Minister under Berlusconi.</a> <em>Italy's new Deputy Prime Minister Angelino Alfano (C) attends the swearing in ceremony of the new government at Quirinale palace on April 28, 2013 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images)</em>

  • Foreign Minister Emma Bonino

    <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/27/us-italy-vote-ministers-idUSBRE93Q09D20130427" target="_blank">Notable previous positions: European Commissioner and Minister of European Affairs under Prime Minister Romano Prodi, member of the Radical Party.</a> <em>Emma Bonino, leader of the Radical Party and centre-left candidate to run the Lazio region for the next regional election, speaks as she takes part with more than two hundred thousand of Italian centre-left opposition demonstrators, in a rally to protest against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government, in central Rome on March 13, 2010. (ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)</em>

  • Economy Minister Fabrizio Saccomanni

    <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/27/us-italy-vote-ministers-idUSBRE93Q09D20130427" target="_blank">Notable previous positions: Director General of the Bank of Italy, economist.</a> <em>New Italian Minister of Economy and Finance Fabrizio Saccomanni attends the confidence vote at the Chamber of Deputies on April 29, 2013 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)</em>

  • Justice Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri

    <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/27/us-italy-vote-ministers-idUSBRE93Q09D20130427" target="_blank">Notable previous positions: Interior Minister in Mario Monti's technocrat cabinet, prefect of Bologna, Geona and other Italian cities.</a> <em>Newly elected prefect commisioner Anna Maria Cancellieri arrivas in Bologna for the handover from the president of city council Maurizio Cevenini on February 18, 2010 in Bologna, Italy. (Photo by Roberto Serra - Iguana Press/Getty Images)</em>

  • Labor Minister Enrico Giovannini

    <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/27/us-italy-vote-ministers-idUSBRE93Q09D20130427" target="_blank">Notable previous positions: President of ISTAT, Italy's national office of statistics, economist.</a> <em>Minister of Labour Enrico Giovannini attends the swearing in ceremony of the new government at Quirinale palace on April 28, 2013 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Giorgio Cosulich/Getty Images)</em>

  • Agriculture Minister Nunzia De Girolamo

    <a href="http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/nations/italy/2013/04/27/Letta-hails-strong-cabinet-record-women-presence_8622411.html" target="_blank">Notable previous position: Lawmaker under Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party.</a> <em>New Minister of Agricultural policies Nunzia De Girolamo attends the confidence vote at the Chamber of Deputies on April 29, 2013 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)</em>

  • Defense Minister Mario Mauro

    <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/27/us-italy-vote-ministers-idUSBRE93Q09D20130427" target="_blank">Notable previous positions: Leader of the People of Freedom party's delegation in the European Parliament, then Italian Senator under Mario Monti's Civic Choice party.</a> <em>New Defence Minister Mario Mauro attends the confidence vote at the Chamber of Deputies on April 29, 2013 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)</em>

  • Sports Minister Josefa Idem

    <a href="http://www.olympic.org/josefa-idem" target="_blank">Notable previous positions: Gold medal-winning kayaker for Italy at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.</a> <em>Italy's Josefa Idem paddles on her way to winning a women's kayak single 500m semifinal in Eton Dorney, near Windsor, England, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)</em>

  • Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin

    <a href="http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/nations/italy/2013/04/27/Letta-hails-strong-cabinet-record-women-presence_8622411.html" target="_blank">Notable previous position: Lawmaker under Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party.</a> New Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin attends the confidence vote at the Chamber of Deputies on April 29, 2013 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

  • Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/cecile-kyenge-italy-racism_n_3193206.html" target="_blank">Notable previous positions: Eye surgeon in Modena, member of the Chamber of Deputies on Pier Luigi Bersani's Democratic Party slate.</a> In this April 29, 2013 file photo Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge listens as Italian Premier Enrico Letta delivers his speech during a vote of confidence to confirm the government, in the lower house of Parliament, in Rome. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, File)

  • Development Minister Flavio Zanonato

    <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323528404578450350631741768.html" target="_blank">Notable previous positions: Mayor of Padua, member of Communist Party.</a> <em>Italian Economic Development Minister Flavio Zanonato takes pictures during the swearing in ceremony of the new government at the Quirinale presidential palace in Rome, Sunday, April 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)</em>

  • European Affairs Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi

    <a href="http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/nations/italy/2013/04/02/Italy-Napolitano-says-panel-wise-men-has-time-limits-_8489058.html" target="_blank">Notable previous positions: European Affairs minister in Mario Monti's technocrat cabinet, member of the panel of 10 "wise men" appointed by President Giorgio Napolitano to propose economic policies.</a> <em>Italian Europe minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi speaks during a press conference at the foreign press club on November 21, 2012 in Rome. (ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)</em>