Man climbs onto dome of St Peter's to protest Italian politics

Reuters News

5/20/2013 1:50:24 PM - Reuters News

ROME (Reuters) - A man climbed onto a ledge on the dome of St Peter's Basilica on Monday and unfurled a banner protesting against a "political horror show", an apparent reference to Italy's embattled coalition struggling with recession and high unemployment.

Identified by police as Marcello Di Finizio, the man unfurled a white banner reading "Stop this massacre! The political horror show is continuing," in English, scrawled in black and red ink, with "Help us Pope Francis" in Italian.

He also waved an Italian flag as he balanced precariously above a small window near the top of the 137-metre dome.

Italy is stuck in its longest recession since quarterly records began in 1970, and jobless rates are close to record highs. Support for a month-old coalition government has already fallen to 34 percent from 43 percent since it was cobbled together in April to bring an end to political stalemate.

Di Finizio has staged similar protests on the dome in the past. Last October he stayed there overnight with a banner criticizing multinationals, Europe, and former Prime Minister Mario Monti.

(Reporting by Alessandro Bianchi; editing by Mike Collett-White; writing by Naomi O'Leary)