AceShowbiz - Richard Gere was greeted by protests as he was awarded the key to Florence by the Italian city's Mayor Dario Nardella on Monday, October 14.
The actor was given the honour for his humanitarian work with stranded migrants, after the 70-year-old boarded an Open Arms rescue ship off the island of Lampedusa to deliver food supplies to the nearly 150 migrants on board, after their vessel was allowed to enter Italian waters following a high-profile dispute.
However, as the star received his prize from the mayor in Palazzo Vecchio's Salone dei Cinquecento, his honour was met with protests, with critics questioning whether his efforts were deserving of the prestigious honour in the Tuscan capital.
According to Toscana Media News, municipal councillors on the right and members of political party the Five Star Movement (M5S) took to the streets, with directors Ubaldo Bocci, Jacopo Cellai, Alessandro Draghi and Federico Bussolin reportedly saying: "We do not participate in the ceremony because we believe that we need strong ties with Florence to justify the keys of the city."
During his efforts, the "Pretty Woman" star was also met with hostility from Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who hit back at his calls for the Italian government to help in the relief effort, sharing in a statement: "Given this generous millionaire is voicing concern for the fate of the Open Arms migrants, we thank him: he can take (them) back to Hollywood, on his private plane, all the people aboard and support them in his villas. Thank you Richard!"