An Italian man has given up his protest on top of St Peter's Basilica after more than 24 hours perched on the 426-foot high dome to demonstrate against government reforms.
Two firefighters helped pull Marcello De Finizio inside the basilica on Wednesday evening, a full day after he eluded Vatican security to scale the dome.
In a surreal contrast, Pope Benedict XVI's regular papal audience - which draws tens of thousands of pilgrims on Wednesdays - went on as scheduled despite the protest taking place on the dome above.
Mr De Finizio put up a banner saying "Help! Enough Monti!" - referring to prime minister Mario Monti, the architect of Italy's economic reforms.