A man scaled the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican to protest against Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s economic policies and European Union-mandated austerity cuts.
The man was identified as 49-year-old Marcello Di Finizio by the Catholic News Service and remained on the 450-foot-high Basilica from Tuesday until Wednesday holding a banner as thousands of people listened to Pope Benedict XVI weekly address.
“I’m here to ask for help. Our government, our state, doesn’t exist. Sectors of the economy, the beach sector, have been paralyzed for years by government policies,” he told the Service. “I ask for political asylum from the Vatican.”
Di Finizio runs a business renting umbrellas and lounge chairs on a beachfront in northern Italy.
Video footage showed him holding a banner which read: “Help, Enough Monti, Enough Europe, Enough Multinationals,” referring to the Italian prime minister, according to Rome Reports.
Di Finizio said that he would not come down until government officials and labor union officials would sit down and deal with the economic issues in Italy.
“I want to live; I like living,” he was quoted as saying, adding that “if they want to kill me, let them do it in front of millions of people.” Di Finzio said that he would jump if he had to, saying that “these are not suicides, these are homicides.”
He added: “Please ask the pope to send up an electrical cable so that my phone battery doesn’t go dead and I can keep talking to (all of) you.”
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