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Northern League councillor blasts Mandela as 'terrorist'

Bigwigs stress comments not position of party

06 December, 13:13
Northern League councillor blasts Mandela as 'terrorist' (see related stories) (ANSA) - Verona, December 6 - A minor member of the anti-immigrant Northern League party on Friday blasted South African leader Nelson Mandela on the social network Facebook. Often called ''Tata'' or Father in South Africa, the man who won the Nobel peace prize for waging a campaign to reconcile and reunite his country after apartheid died Thursday at the age of 95.

''Finally the terrorist Mandela, the beast who thirsted for white blood and was transformed into a hero by global propaganda, will find himself before all the people that he had killed with bombs in churches or with tires on fire around the neck,'' wrote Francesco Vartolo, who is a borough councillor in Verona, on his Facebook page.

Luca Zaia, the governor of the Veneto region that includes Verona and a League bigwig, condemned Vartolo's comments and stressed that they did not represent the party's position. Several senior League members praised Mandela.

"Honour to the memory of one of humanity's greats," wrote League leader and Lombardy Governor Roberto Maroni via Twitter. Northern League politicians have become notorious for racially charged attacks, including a rain of slurs on Italy's first black cabinet member, Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge.

Northern League Senator Roberto Calderoli's comments at a party rally likening Kyenge to an orangutan triggered a criminal probe.