VATICAN CITY (AP) — An Italian man who climbed the 426-foot-high dome of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican is still perched there, protesting the austerity measures that Italy has passed to deal with its debt crisis.
The man is identified as Marcello De Finizio, the owner of a beachfront concession and restaurant in the northern city of Trieste. He has refused offers from government ministers to meet with him if he will come down.
Pope Benedict went ahead with his regular papal audience -- which draws tens of thousands of people on Wednesdays -- even as the protest continued on the dome above.
De Finizio told an Italian broadcaster by cellphone from his perch that he's "not a crazy who wants to kill himself." And he says he won't come down in order to get "a pat on the back and a kick in the behind."
Italian media said he had spent three nights on a 230-foot-tall metal structure in Trieste earlier this year in a similar protest.
De Finizio reportedly lost his restaurant in a fire, and has struggled to get a loan to rebuild.
148-c-11-(Victor Simpson, AP correspondent)-"own beach concessions"-AP correspondent Victor Simpson reports that the climber is upset about various Italian government and European Union policies. (3 Oct 2012)
<<CUT *148 (10/03/12)>> 00:11 "own beach concessions"
147-c-13-(Victor Simpson, AP correspondent)-"but he refused"-AP correspondent Victor Simpson reports that the protester has ignored attempts by officials to get him to come down from St. Peter's dome. (3 Oct 2012)
<<CUT *147 (10/03/12)>> 00:13 "but he refused"
APPHOTO AJM104: Firefighters look at Italian businessman Marcello di Finizio standing above his banner which reads in Italian "Help!! Enough Monti (Italian Premier Mario Monti), enough Europe, enough multinationals, you are killing all of us. Development?? This is a social butchery!!", as he protests on St. Peter's 130-meter-high (42-feet-high) dome, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012. di Finizio has eluded Vatican security and scaled the 130-meter-high (42-feet-high) dome of St. Peter's Basilica to protest Italian government and European Union policies. Officials said Wednesday that the man, who identified himself as the owner of a beach resort, refused appeals from government ministers offering to meet with him if he would come down. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini) (3 Oct 2012)
<<APPHOTO AJM104 (10/03/12)>>