Footage of Florence, Italy Mayor Dario Nardella physically impeding climate change activists trying to graffiti one of his city’s most famous landmarks went viral this week.
Video shows Nardella interrupting the two vandals as they sprayed orange paint from a fire extinguisher onto the side of the “Palazzo Vecchio,” Florence’s town hall building, in an effort to spread a climate change message.
Getting into the fray along with local police, Nardella was seen shoving the two men as they were committing the vandalism, forcing them away from their paint and off to the curb, where they were arrested by Florence police.
According to translators from U.K. paper The Sun, Nardella furiously screamed “What the f–k are you doing, what the f–k are you doing?” in Italian to one of the men as he’s being handcuffed by police.
As he was cuffed, the vandal appeared to make an attempt to preach about his political agenda, though the angry mayor wasn’t buying it and seemed to angrily scold him mid-speech.
The incident started when Nardella noticed the climate vandals – from activist group “Ultima Generazione” (Last Generation) – spraying the paint while he was in the middle of an interview on the historic city streets.
As he realized what they were doing, he turned away from the camera and sprinted over to the scene to protect the famous building which was built around seven hundred years ago.
Florence’s tourist site described the edifice as “the main symbol of civil power for the city of Florence, whose original project is attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio. Construction on the solid fortress began in 1299 above the ruins of the destroyed Uberti Ghibelline towers.”
The interior of the building is especially famous for being decorated with works of art from Michelangelo and Donatello.
According to the U.K. outlet, the 47-year-old mayor and member of Italy’s Democratic Party, was photographed assisting crews with the clean-up of the historical building. Witnesses claimed he could be heard muttering, “Barbarians, uncivilized” as he helped remove the paint.
Similar acts of vandalism committed to spread awareness about climate change have occurred all over Europe in recent months. Famous works of art in some of Europe’s legendary art galleries have been the predominant targets.
A duo of environmentalists poured tomato soup on Van Gogh’s work “Sunflowers” at London’s National Gallery in October. Thankfully, the painting was protected by a barrier and left unharmed. London Metropolitan Police arrested the two vandals, who were part of activist group “Just Stop Oil.”
At another London gallery, two activists involved in the same group glued their hands to the frame of another Van Gogh painting last June in protest of the country’s climate policies.