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Iconic fountain runs red in corruption protest

An artist has poured red dye into Rome’s iconic Trevi Fountain to protest against what he claims is the city’s filth and corruption.

Graziano Cecchini climbed onto the side of the fountain on Thursday and poured the dye into it, before police escorted him from the scene.

He insisted the stunt will not harm the fountain, which is one of the Italian capital’s best known tourist hotspots.

Police have arrested a protester for throwing red paint into the Trevi fountain
Police escorted Mr Cecchini from the scene Pic: Jonathan Lewis

Mr Cecchini said the protest was a “cry that Rome isn’t dead, that it’s alive and ready to return to be the capital of art, life and Renaissance”.

Deputy mayor Luca Bergamo said the stunt was a display of “ignorance” and demonstrated a “total lack of civic sense”.

On Thursday afternoon, the Trevi’s hydraulics had been turned off and authorities were draining the fountain pool to stop the dye causing any damage.

Worker returns Spanish steps to normal after artist protest in 2008
A worker returns the Spanish Steps to normal after Mr Cecchini’s 2008 protest

In 2008, Mr Cecchini performed a similar protest at the city’s Spanish Steps, using plastic balls on that occasion.

The fountain has featured in many films, including the Academy Award-winning Three Coins In The Fountain and Roman Holiday, which Audrey Hepburn starred in.

The legend is that visitors who throw a coin into the fountain will return to Rome, if you throw two coins a new romance will blossom and if you throw three then it will lead to marriage.

The coins are donated to a Catholic charity called Caritas to help citizens to buy food, with £1.2m being collected in 2016.

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