Italian protester climbs St Peter's Basilica -- again

Italian protester climbs St Peter's Basilica -- again
A man known as Marcello Di Finizio stands on the ledge of St Peter's facade to protest against the so-called Bolkestein directive on December 21, 2014 at the Vatican. The Bolkestein directive is an EU directive aimed at opening up Europe's services sector to cross-border competition.

VATICAN CITY - A disgruntled Italian entrepreneur on Sunday climbed the facade of St Peter's Basilica in an anti-EU protest, marking the fifth time the man has scaled the ornate building to highlight his country's economic woes.

The man, identified as Marcello di Finizio, perched on a ledge some 80 metres (260 feet) above the ground, securing himself with a rope tied to a statue, an AFP journalist saw.

Di Finizio was demonstrating against a European Union directive that will see Italy auction off licences to run businesses on the seafront. He claims the measure threatens the survival of his beach club near Trieste in northeast Italy.

In other protests in recent years, Di Finizio managed to climb onto the basilica's famed dome at the Vatican on four separate occasions.

In 2012, he remained perilously perched on the cupola for 24 hours before firefighters brought him down. At the time, he was protesting against austerity measures in the recession-hit country.

Earlier this year, he spent 80 days atop a crane in the city of Trieste.

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