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Italian minister tells Charlie Hebdo to 'stick it' after earthquake cartoons

The village of Pescara del Tronto, near Amatricia, after the earthquake
The village of Pescara del Tronto, near Amatricia, after the earthquake Reuters/Stefano De Nicolo

Italy's interior minister has told French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo "where to stick their pencil" after a cartoon showing Italian earthquake victims as lasagne sparked outrage and a disclaimer from the French embassy in Rome.

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"To use their own satire, I'd offer a suggestion as to where they can stick their pencil," Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told journalists on the sidelines of a forum in Cernobbio on Lake Como this weekend.

He was commenting on a cartoon in the paper, depicting victims of the 24 August earthquake in which nearly 300 people died.

Entitled "Earthquake Italian style", it showed a bloodied and bandaged man under the caption "Penne in tomato sauce", a badly burned woman labelled "Penne gratin" and a pile of bodies under rubble labelled "Lasagne".

"We cried over their dead, they mocked ours," Alfano added in reference to the January 2015 massacre at Charlie Hebdo's offices.

The cartoon has caused outrage on social media in Italy and were dubbed disgusting by Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor Amatrice, the town which was worst hit by the disaster.

Charlie unrepentant

Earlier Italian Justice Minister Andrea Orlando called them "repugnant".

"I don't think it's useful to comment further as I think that would produce precisely the sought after effect... that is to create an outcry," he said.

Such was the indignation that the French embassy in Rome issued a statement Friday, saying that "the Charlie Hebdo cartoon in no way represents France's position".

The paper was unrepentant on Sunday.

The "cartoon of the day" on its website, depicted another earthquake victims, saying "Italians, it's not Charlie Hebdo that builds your houses, it's the mafia."

To read our coverage of the Charlie Hebdo attacks click here

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