Two Italian men protesting Italy’s economic crisis demanded an audience with Pope Francis, threatening to burn themselves to death if their request was denied. One of the protesters, speaking to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, said, “There’s no work, they don’t give you a home, they don’t give you anything!”
The protesters, who claimed to be members of Italy’s “Pitchfork movement,” also demanded to be granted political asylum in the Holy See.
The protesters’ plot was foiled by police officers, who arrested them at the scene and took control of the flammable liquid, lighters and blankets they were carrying.
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The Pitchfork movement had its beginnings in Sicily, when farmers expressed concern about rising taxes and cuts in government funding. It has grown to a nationwide protest movement, with its membership including truckers, small businessmen, the unemployed, low-paid workers, right-wing extremists and Ultras football supporters. The group organized nationwide protests in December, arguing for dumping the Euro, cutting taxes, lowering fuel costs, and other economic issues.