In an unorthodox display of anti-EU sentiment, an Italian restaurateur has spent more than 24 hours staging a protest atop St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. He addressed crowds of bemused tourists, decrying PM Monti’s policies as “social butchery”.
Two firefighters helped pull Marcello De Finizio inside the basilica. The man was taken directly to a local police station, but told AP that he did not expect to face any charges.
Marcello Di Finizio tagged on to a group of ordinary tourists to gain access to the dome on Tuesday, whereupon he abandoned the tour, vaulted the railings and lowered himself on to a window ledge. He has so far spent roughly a day ensconced on top of St. Peter’s, refusing to quit his protest.
He draped a banner over the dome of the church, reading "Help!!! Enough with [Prime Minister Mario Monti], Enough with Europe, Enough with multinationals. You are killing us all. Development?”
Vatican police have recruited the help of Italian firemen in order to coax Finizio to end his protest and come down from the basilica’s roof.
Pope Benedict XVI held a service on the square below Wednesday morning despite Finizio's conspicuous presence.
This is not the first time the 46-year-old Italian has scaled St Peter’s. In July he spent four hours on the iconic building before being removed by authorities.
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti has sought to deal with the crisis by implementing austerity measures to reduce the national deficit. His cuts have been met with outrage by the Italian public, with numerous protests staged condemning the economic measures.
In the latest display of public discontent, up to 30,000 members of Italy’s two largest unions paraded through Rome on Friday in protest of Monti’s cuts.
Opposition to the Italian government’s austerity has been swelling in recent months as unemployment continues to rise in Italy and the recession shows no signs of letting up.