An Italian student protester has been charged with sexual assault after she was pictured kissing a riot police officer’s helmet during a demonstration last month.
The 20-year-old student was photographed kissing officer Salvatore Piccione during a protest against a planned rail link in Northern Italy.
Construction of the high-speed line is expected to reduce journey time from Milan to Paris from seven to four hours
The photograph of Nina De Chiffre subsequently went viral on social media and was hailed as a symbol of peaceful protest in the country.
However, COISP, a union representing Italian police officers, later revealed that they had lodged a complaint with Turin prosecutors.
Franco Maccari, the union’s general secretary told La Repubblica: “We have accused the protester of sexual violence and insulting a public official.
“If the policeman had kissed her, World War III would have broken out,” he said. “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?”, he added.
“A kiss is a positive thing,” he said. “But in this context, between these two people, it was just disrespect.”