ROME — A squad of police officers subdued and arrested an African immigrant who was posing nude in a public fountain in Rome’s Piazza dell Repubblica Wednesday.
A video released by the Italian daily Il Messaggero shows the naked man, wearing only a red cap, perched atop one of the statues of the Naiads, sculpted by Italian artist Mario Rutelli for the unveiling of the fountain in 1888.
The man can be seen taunting passersby as security officers attempt in vain to convince the man to come out of the fountain. Five officers eventually wade into the cold water and when the immigrant begins to splash them, they subdue him using their nightsticks.
According to news site Leggo.it, the man had a bottle in his hand and prior to the arrival of the agents, had also threatened several people walking by the fountain.
Former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s Lega party, posted the video on his Twitter account, in which he expresses his “solidarity with the poor officers, forced to take a bath on the day of the Immaculate Conception.”
“A reflection: is this immigration that Italy needs?” Salvini queries. “Are these the resources that will pay pensions to the Italians? This video will make some people laugh, I can’t do it.”