Rome

Grillo swims Messina Strait to launch electoral campaign

On landing refers to Garibaldi and makes 'V' for victory sign

Grillo swims Messina Strait to launch electoral campaign

(ANSA) - Rome, October 10 - The leader of the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) Beppe Grillo kicked off his electoral campaign by swimming the Messina Strait connecting the Italian mainland to the island of Sicily. Comic and activist Grillo posting on his blog wrote, "I landed in Sicily! This is the third landing in Sicily in 150 years". Grillo cited the landing of Italian unification leader Garibaldi, the Americans during WWII "who brought the Mafia" and himself as the third. "But neither Garibaldi or Lucky Luciano swam to Sicily," Grillo wrote. Upon his arrival, Grillo raised his arm and spread his fingers in the 'V' for victory salute, that can also be interpreted as an 'f-you' sign in Italy when the hand is turned. Grillo has spearheaded several national and international campaigns orbiting around the 'V' sign, including the Vaffa' day (f-off) calling for the removal of Italian parliament members who have criminal convictions of any kind from their office. Grillo told a crowd waiting for his arrival that Italian Premier Mario Monti "is the liquidator of a company that is called Italy and that has failed. If the country does not stop the debt, the debt will stop the country". "We need to think of a new culture. We are the only alternative," Grillo, whose party is third in the polls, said.

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