Marcello Di Finizio, a 49-year-old man from Trieste, northern Italy, stands on the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica holding a banner reading, "Help, stop Monti, stop Europe" during a protest against the government at the Vatican.

Rome -

An Italian restaurateur who fears losing his licence because of European Union market rules staged a spectacular protest by spending the night between on Tuesday and Wednesday on top of Saint Peter's Church in Rome.

Marcello Di Finizio, from Trieste in north-east Italy, visited the balcony on top of St Peter's dome with ordinary tourists. He then climbed over a railing and lowered himself with a rope onto a window ledge from which he unfolded a banner.

“Help!!! Enough with (Prime Minister Mario) Monti, Enough with Europe, Enough with multinationals. You are killing us all. Development??? This is simply social butchery,” it read.

On Wednesday morning Di Finizio was still on top of the dome, as Vatican police, who also enlisted the help of Italian firemen, failed to convince him to end his protest.

A spokesman for the Vatican told dpa that the man was offered a meeting with government representatives in Monti's offices in central Rome, but he refused it.

The 46-year-old has carried out similar stunts in the past. He had already climbed on top of St Peter's in July, where he stayed for four hours. In March, he spent four days on a crane in Trieste's port.

He fears that he will lose his business due to EU regulation that is opening up the market for beachside businesses.

Previously, he staged street protests and went on a hunger strike after his bar-restaurant on Trieste's seafront was damaged by a fire and flooding in 2008, in order to get compensation for the damages. - Sapa-dpa