Man Protests Atop St. Peter's —for 5th Time

Marcello di Finizio says he won't get down until he speaks to Italian PM
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2014 7:03 AM CST
Man Protests Atop St. Peter's —for 5th Time
Italian entrepreneur Marcello di Finizio talks with an officer, unseen, on the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Dec. 21, 2014.   (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Marcello di Finizio is good at getting past Vatican security—very good. For the fifth time in recent years, the Italian man is staging a protest at St. Peter's Basilica. This time he's on the high, narrow ledge of the facade, just above the central balcony from which Pope Francis will speak to crowds in St. Peter's Square on Christmas. Di Finizio appears to have used mountain-climbing ropes to lower himself to the ledge from a roof that tourists can access, Reuters reports. He arrived last night and was still there this morning; TV footage has shown him pacing while talking on a cellphone. He's upset about laws that, he says, cost him his business.

Di Finizio says Europe and Italy changed the law a few years ago to make the beachfront sector more competitive, and as a result, he lost his business in Trieste. He wants to speak to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, according to local media. In his past protests, the most recent of which was in March, di Finizio has lowered himself onto the side of the church's large dome; he's been known to stay for days. He chose the ledge above the main entrance this time, he tells the AP, because he can be seen more easily. "I was too high on the cupola, and they managed to silence the media and the public," he explains. "Now I am more visible." He also tells the AP he has no food, water, or blankets and will fall off the ledge if anyone tries to grab him. (More St. Peter's Basilica stories.)

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