Protester Pours Red Dye in Popular Roman Tourist Attraction

Protester Pours Red Dye in Popular Roman Tourist Attraction © Flickr PHOTO: The Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. (photo via Flickr/David Jones) An Italian activist poured red dye into a popular tourist attraction in Rome Thursday.

According to The Associated Press, the suspect, Graziano Cecchini, said he poured the dye into the Trevi Fountain, which opened in 1762, to protest “Rome's corruption and filth.” Cecchini said the dye he used wouldn't harm the fountain.

Witnesses on the scene said Cecchini climbed onto the side of the fountain and poured the dye into the water, turning the Trevi pool blood red. Police arrived at the scene and placed the activist under arrest.

On Thursday afternoon, Roman officials turned off the Trevi's hydraulics and drained the fountain pool to prevent any damage from the dye. Cecchini told the media the protest was a “cry that Rome isn't dead, that it's alive and ready to return to be the capital of art, life and Renaissance.”

Rome’s deputy mayor Luca Bergamo disagreed with Cecchini’s method, saying, “Actions like this display ignorance and a total lack of civic sense.”

This wasn’t Cecchini’s first political statement made at the expense of popular tourist attractions in Rome. Not only did he pour dye into the Trevi Fountain in 2010, but he also sent thousands of colored plastic balls down Rome's Spanish Steps in 2008.

The 2010 stunt was to protest the cost of organizing the Rome Film Festival. The 2017 edition of the event opened Thursday.

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