Mr Calderoli was widely criticised by his cabinet colleagues for announcing earlier this week that he would distribute T-shirts emblazoned with the controversial cartoons.He has resigned from Prime Minister Berlusconi's cabinet as a result of his actions. Unfortunately for the USA, so far no major political leader has yet stepped forward to defend free speech . . .
He even undid his shirt live on television to reveal he was wearing one of the offending t-shirts.
Despite growing calls for his resignation - and facing blame for the riot in Libya on Friday that led to at least 10 deaths - Mr Calderoli was defiant, calling it a "battle for freedom".
"I can be sorry for the victims, but what happened in Libya has nothing to do with my T-shirt. The question is different. What's at stake is Western civilisation," he was quoted by the daily La Repubblica as saying.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
One thing about a crisis, as the Chinese proverb points out, is that it presents both danger and opportunity. In France, the riots brough Nicholas Sarkozy to the fore. In Italy, the Danish Cartoon Crisis has propelled Roberto Calderoli into the limelight, as this BBC story details: