VATICAN CITY -- An Italian man gave up his protest atop the St.Peter's Basilica on Wednesday evening, after more than 24 hours perchedon the 130-meter-high (426-foot) dome to demonstrate against governmentreforms.
Two firefighters helped pull Marcello De Finizio insidethe basilica a full day after he had eluded Vatican security to scalethe dome and unfurl a banner reading: "Help! Enough Monti!" - referringto President Mario Monti, the architect of Italy's economic reforms.
DeFinizio was taken directly to the Rome police station, but told theAssociated Press by cellphone that it was a "formality" and he did notexpect to face any charges.
It was the second time in three monthsthat De Finizio had scaled the dome. His previous protest at St.Peter's in July lasted only four hours, he said, and nothing came of it.
Healso spent three nights on a 70-meter-tall (230-foot) metal structurein Trieste earlier this year, and said a judge cleared him of charges ofcausing an alarm.
De Finizio said he did not suffer anyparticular discomfort during the latest protest, which he ended afterTourism Minister Piero Gnudi agreed to meet with a delegation of beachconcession owners to discuss new rules governing the sector.
Atissue are government reforms that will force an open bidding process forexisting establishments and limit the length of the licenses.
Thegovernment passed the measures in accord with EU norms to try to makethe sector more competitive by preventing licenses from being passedfrom generation to generation. But the concession owners say they makeconsiderable investments in the properties, including mortgages, thatthey stand to lose - and that they are unable to get loans for newinvestments while the changes are pending.
"The entire sector is on standby. This is a trauma for the sector, this is a trauma for Italy," De Finizio said.
Theconcessions cover more than 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) of Italy'scoast - or more than half of it - renting out lounge chairs, umbrellasand changing rooms and offering a coffee bar or restaurant.
DeFinizio lost his beachside restaurant in the northern city of Trieste ina 2008 fire and said he has been unable to get a loan to rebuildbecause of the changing norms.