Marcello Di Finizio a 49-year old beach bar owner from the northern Italian city of Trieste had managed to infiltrate the Vatican after tagging onto the back of a group of tourists. He then managed to scale the famous dome, making his way onto the ledge of an ornate window and unfurling a large banner with its anti-Europe measures.
As the standoff between Marcello and Vatican officials continued, Pope Benedict XVI went ahead with holding a traditional Wednesday morning service despite the protestor standing above his head. The protest attracted a crowd of curious bystanders and tourists who took photographs.
Marcello began his climb of the iconic landmark and the Catholic Church’s most revered church on Tuesday afternoon. He spent more than twelve hours atop the dome before he was removed by fire-fighters.
The fire fighters made their move to remove him after a telephone call with Italian ministers failed to convince him to abandon his protest. Marcello was quoted as saying that “I’m desperate, I’m ready to risk my life.”
Marcello is reported to have been angry about a new EU directive which is backed by the Italian government that would see reforms made to the rules for auctioning licences to operate businesses at Italian coastal areas. He argued that the directive would favour large multinational companies and force people like himself out of business.
Once back on Terra firma Marcelo said he would meet with the country’s tourist minister Piero Gnudi to discuss the reasons behind his protest.
“I really hope it’s over now and we can start again with our small firms and get the economy started again,” he told reporters and a small crowd of supporters.”Something which has really struck me throughout this whole carry on is that I’ve asked for a meeting with the minister very politely many times and I’ve always run into a rubber wall,” he said.
The directive has been bitterly opposed by a large number of beach operating businesses who control access to some of Italy’s most popular beaches and rent out beach umbrellas and sun loungers to tourists and beach goers.
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