Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, Italian Education Minister Azzolina targeted with sexist abuse

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Tensions after more than two months of lockdown in Italy have boiled over into sexist attacks and threats against Education Minister Lucia Azzolina, who now has police protection.

Right-wing Senator Giuseppe Moles of Forza Italia spoke out publicly, warning the minister that credibility was like virginity and "easy to lose".

Furious senators in her Five Star party demanded that Mr Moles apologise.

A deputy health minister and a regional governor also have police guards now.

The deputy minister, Pierpaolo Sileri, had received threats linked to coronavirus aid. Like Ms Azzolina, he is in the anti-establishment Five Star movement, part of Italy's coalition government.

Attilio Fontana, governor of the Lombardy region - epicentre of Italy's coronavirus crisis - was also assigned police protection after being threatened on social media. Graffiti in Milan labelled him a "murderer".

He is in Matteo Salvini's anti-immigration League, and his Lombardy government has been heavily criticised for shortcomings in its crisis response, such as shortages of some medical kit in the severely stretched health service.

Austria's Justice Minister Alma Zadic, a Green politician, was reported to be under police protection in January after being targeted by far-right threats on social media.


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