A 20-year-old Italian student protester faces possible sexual assault charges after a photograph of her kissing a riot cop during a demonstration against the construction of a rail link became a symbol of peaceful protest. See the photograph here.
Nina de Chiffre, a 20-year-old protester, had used the opportune moment to first kiss, then lick a police officer’s helmet visor. The moment was caught on camera, and the photo ended up going viral. It was hailed as an example of sending a message of love and peace and non-violent protest.
But the situation quickly went south for de Chiffre, after the Italian police union – COISP – ruled that the act was in fact sexual assault, and filed a complaint with a court in Turin, Italy’s La Repubblica reported on Sunday.
“We have accused the protester of sexual violence and insulting a public official,” said Franco Maccari, COISP’s general secretary, adding that the union “fully [expects] an investigation to start”.
Seeing the matter in a positive light is not on the cards, apparently, because “if the policeman had kissed her, world war three would have broken out,” Maccari continued. “Or what if I had patted her on the behind? She would have been outraged. So if she does that to a man on duty, should it be tolerated?”
De Chiffre’s explanation of her actions have discomfited and disappointed those who saw the event as an exemplar of nonviolent resistance. She wrote on her Facebook wall: “No peace message… I would hang all these disgusting pigs upside down.” She told Rome’s La Repubblica newspaper the kiss was an act of indignation at the police for allegedly beating up another demonstrator.