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A man in a car forced his way into the Vatican

St Peter's Square at the Vatican

dezign80 | Shutterstock

I.Media - published on 05/19/23

A driver was arrested by the Vatican's law enforcement after he tried to force his way into the state. Vatican police shot at his tires to try and stop him.

A man in a car forced his way into the Vatican at the St. Anne Gate on May 18, 2023, the Holy See Press Office announced a little over two hours later. Despite his car being shot at by the Gendarmerie, the Vatican police, the driver was able to enter the state before being arrested in the Courtyard of Saint Damasus. 

The man, who is in his 40s, is currently being detained in the barracks of the Vatican Gendarmerie, said the Holy See’s statement. After his arrest, he was immediately taken care of by doctors who noted a “serious state of psychophysical alteration.” 

At 8 p.m. the man drove to the St. Anne Gate, an entrance to the Vatican City State located to the right of St. Peter’s Square and usually used by Vatican employees. The Swiss Guards who monitor the access did not allow the man to enter as he did not have the necessary authorizations. 

“He temporarily left the entrance and, after maneuvering, re-entered at high speed, forcing himself through the two control checkpoints, of the Swiss Guards and the Corps of the Gendarmerie of the Vatican City State,” the statement explained. 

Shots fired and alarm launched

“In an attempt to stop the car, the Gendarmerie inspector on guard at the gate fired a gunshot in the direction of the vehicle’s front tires. Despite hitting the vehicle on the left front fender, the car continued on its way,” the statement said.

The “alarm code” was quickly broadcast over the radio. As a consequence the guards then closed the Gate of the Mint, which provides access to the back of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Gardens, and St. Martha’s Square, which is where Pope Francis has resided since his election in 2013. 

Meanwhile, the driver reached the Courtyard of St. Damasus, a location in the heart of the Apostolic Palace (see diagram below). According to the Holy See’s statement, the driver got out of the car on his own and was then arrested by the gendarmes. 

I.MEDIA was able to observe that the same evening, around 10 p.m., calm had returned to the area surrounding St. Anne’s Gate. 

A map showing how a driver could have forced his way into the Vatican City State

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RomeVatican
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