VIDEO captures the bizarre moment an Italian mayor tackles a climate change protester as he tried to cover the city hall in paint.
Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence, can be seen in the video charging away mid-interview to physically manhandle an environmental activist.
The incredible moment Nardella confronts the protester[/caption]
Nardella, 47, who has been mayor of the Italian city since 2014, looks suitably fashionable in a leather jacket and chinos as he confronts the protester.
Earlier footage shows him speaking to camera on the historic Piazza della Signoria when he spots an activist behind him trying to vandalise the 13-century Palazzo Vecchio, which houses Florence’s city hall.
Suddenly, he turns around and sprints off towards the scene, where a young man is turning a fire extinguisher filled with orange paint on the building’s ancient walls.
Nardella shoves the man until he puts down the fire extinguisher, getting in his face to confront him as the protester is led away by a policeman.
In Italian, he shouts: “What the f*** are you doing, what the f*** are you doing?” at the shocked man.
The mayor, who represents Italy’s Democratic Party, was later pictured getting involved in the cleanup to remove the paint from the walls with a power hose.
He could be overheard muttering: “Barbarians, uncivilised,” according to reports in the Italian publication Republicca.
Pictures of the bespectacled mayor in his leather jacket crouched down in anguish in front of the paint-smeared wall, went viral on Italian social media, and memes comparing him to Superman were created.
One meme shows him trying to hold up the famously crooked Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Cops say two activists, aged 23 and 32, were detained following the stunt.
Both are believed to have links to the Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) group, which has carried out a number of similar protests in recent months to protest what they see as a lack of action to combat climate change.
Among the stunts carried out, they have covered Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers with pea soup, and thrown mashed potatoes over a Monet painting.
Others have glued their hands to famous artworks and blocked off busy roads.
The group claimed Friday’s actions came in response to the Italian budget amendments which would have cut various environmentally harmful subsidies.
Nardella later took to Twitter, branding the activists “barbarians”.
He wrote: “The attack on art, culture and beauty, which are helpless in the face of violence and which are created for the good of humanity can never justify the battle for a cause, even the most acceptable.”
And he slammed the apparent hypocrisy of the climate change protesters as the cleaning operation to remove the paint required the wasting of thousands of litres of water.
He added: “On the subject of the environment and drought, more than 5,000 litres of water were consumed to clean up Palazzo Vecchio from the ‘environmental blitz’. Five thousand.”
He dragged the activist away[/caption]
Nardella later helped to clean Florence’s ancient Palazzo Vecchio[/caption]