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Protester gives up St. Peter's protest

Associated Press Modified: October 3, 2012 at 3:32 pm •  Published: October 3, 2012

At issue are government reforms that will force an open bidding process for existing establishments and limit the length of the licenses.

The government passed the measures in accord with EU norms to try to make the sector more competitive by preventing licenses from being passed from generation to generation. But the concession owners say they make considerable investments in the properties, including mortgages, that they stand to lose — and that they are unable to get loans for new investments 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.

The concessions cover more than 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) of Italy's coast — or more than half of it — renting out lounge chairs, umbrellas and changing rooms and offering a coffee bar or restaurant.

De Finizio lost his beachside restaurant in the northern city of Trieste in a 2008 fire and said he has been unable to get a loan to rebuild because of the changing norms.