A far-right Italian MP was suspended and fined this week for bringing a dead sea bass into parliament as a protest against Italy’s immigration policies.
According to The Local, Gianluca Buonanno waved his sea bass around the Chamber of Deputies to symbolize the fancy fish eaten by well-off politicians like Laura Boldrini, president of the Chamber of Deputies. Buonanno’s point was that Italy’s immigration policy, which Buonanno feels is too in favor of immigrants, was forcing the common man to eat sardines. But his seafood props did not go over well with other MPs, and Boldrini suspended Buonanno for 12 days.
Buonanno was also fined €2,500 from his daily allowance over the stunt. He says the punishment is excessive and indicates a “strong prejudice” against him, specifically. But he says he considers the suspension to be a badge of pride.
“This suspension for defending the common people is, for me, a medal on my chest,” he said.
The debate over immigration in Italy is ongoing as the country struggles with how to deal with the numbers of would-be refugees arriving in the country by boats that are often rickety and dangerous. Rescuing people from the waters around Italy reportedly costs the country millions every month, but many people consider not rescuing people to be cruel and unacceptable. According to The Local, 22,000 asylum-seekers have arrived in Italy so far in 2014, which is 10 times the number of refugees that arrived in the same period last year.