Right-wing Italian politicians have plumbed to new depths in their treatment of the country's first black minister.
A right-wing Italian politician smeared his face with black greasepaint in parliament, advising Italians to "become a bit darker" if they wanted to take advantage of the country's supposed generous hand-outs to black immigrants.
Gianluca Buonanno, a Northern League MP, told parliament that too much money was being given to immigrants when Italy did nothing for its own citizens.
"At the end of the day, maybe in this country in order to achieve anything we need to be a bit darker.
"I say we can all put make-up on and make ourselves a bit darker, and then we can all go around painted black and say we want the same help that non-EU citizens get."
The Northern League, who have been accused of playing "on themes of xenophobia regionalism and trivial racism", has accused Cecile Kyenge, the country's Congo-born minister for integration, of using her post to "favour negritude."
Italian Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge
Kyenge is Italy's first black politician and has experienced multiple incidents of racism.
The Northern League leader Roberto Calderoli compared her to an orang-utan last year. He was later charged with defamation aggravated by racial discrimination.
Kyenge has also had bananas thrown at her during public appearances.