The man who has been identified as 49-year old Marcello Di Finizio from the northern city of Trieste managed to evade detection, scale the iconic structure and unfurled a banner reading ‘Help!!! Enough with Prime Minister Mario Monti, Enough with Europe, Enough with multinationals. You are killing us all. Development?”
It is thought that Marcello infiltrated the Vatican by tagging onto the back of a group of tourists being led on a guided tour of the medieval city. He then abandoned the tour, climbing over a set of railings and lowering himself onto a window ledge which led to the roof of the Basilica. Remarkably this is not the first time that Mr Di Finizio has scaled the structure.
In July he spent four hours on top of the iconic building’s roof carrying out a similar protest. That time he was removed after four hours by the security services. This time however, he has managed to evade capture for twelve hours, forcing Vatican police officials to call in assistance from Italian firemen in an effort to persuade him to come down and abandon his protest.
Italy has been beset by civil unrest and acts of defiance since the unelected Technocratic Prime minister Mario Monti was placed into power in 2011. Many people disagree with his austerity policies and the nation has seen mass protests.
The latest took place in Rome last Friday, when up to 30,000 members of Italy’s biggest workers unions took to the streets. Opposition to Monti and the EU in general has risen sharply in the past few months as unemployment continues to rise and the harsh austerity measures continue to hit the poorest members in society.
Italians take to the polls later in the year but many citizens are disillusioned. No obvious leader has arisen in these tough times and many are desperate to avoid the return of Silvio Berlusconi, a man that many people blame was responsible for the dire situation that the country now finds itself in. Some political leaders have even gone as far as begging Monti to stay on as Prime minister.
The realisation that Mr Monti’s stabilising stop-gap government has only months left has caused alarm bordering on panic among business leaders and even some of the politicians who stand to replace him. His unelected regime was rushed into place in November 2011 with Italy’s finances on the precipice, a crisis that forced the resignation of Silvio Berlusconi as Prime Minister. Despite opposition to his austerity plans many in the international community believe that things in Italy could have gotten a whole lot worse without his influence.
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