M5S politicians banned for parliament roof stunt

A dozen politicians from the Five Star Movement (M5S) have been banned from parliament for five days after staging a protest on the parliament building's roof.

M5S politicians banned for parliament roof stunt
Five Star Movement MPs wave from the top of the Italian parliament. Screenshot: M5SParlamento/YouTube

The MPs took to the roof last Friday to protest changes to the Italian constitution.

They unfurled a banner which said, "La costituzione è di tutti" (“The constitution is for everyone”), and attracted a crowd of supporters in the square below.

But the authorities were not impressed by the stunt and first threatened to fine the group €3,880 and ban them from parliament for a week, La Stampa said. The punishment, announced on Thursday, was then reduced to a five-day ban.

Despite being content to stay out of the chamber a week ago, the politicians reacted furiously when they discovered they will not be allowed to return at their leisure.

Maria Edera Spadoni, an MP in the central Emilia-Romagna region, aired her grievances on Facebook: “I can’t go into the chamber until next Friday because I defended the constitution, and someone convicted of tax fraud can vote and represent the country in the Senate. This is not acceptable!”

Spadoni was referring to former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who lost his final appeal over tax fraud on 1st August. His People of Freedom (PdL) party is threatening to withdraw from the fragile coalition government if their criminal leader is banned from politics.

Sergio Battelli, an M5S MP for the north-west Liguria region, called the decision an “intolerable affront” and suggested instead President Giorgio Napolitano should be banned from parliament for half a century.

“Suspend Giorgio Napolitano for 50 years…for entrusting the task of governing a country to someone who was not elected, for having formed a so-called government and excluding a political force of nine million voters,” Battelli wrote on Facebook.

In February’s parliamentary elections M5S received 8.7 million votes, beating the PdL and centre left Democratic Party (PD). But without a clear majority the party was unable to govern alone and leader Beppe Grillo refused to go into coalition with any other party. A two-month stalemate ensued, before 88-year-old Napolitano asked PD politician Enrico Letta to form a government. 

Watch a video of the rooftop protest:

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