A man carried out a crucifixion protest in the main square of this Mexican Gulf coast port city, piercing his hands with metal nails to protest the lack of payment on his insurance claim.

Shortly before 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, Sergio Manuel Vargas Mortera, aided by another individual, lay down on a wooden cross and had his hands pierced with nails, saying he was protesting an insurance firm's refusal to adequately compensate him for hurricane damage to his home two years ago.

Moments before the protest, Vargas said his home was severely damaged by Hurricane Karl, which made landfall near Veracruz in September 2010 as a Category 3 storm, and that the insurance unit of the BBVA Bancomer bank - Mexico's largest financial institution - has refused to cover the cost of the repairs.

He said he opted for this form of protest to call the attention of Veracruz state authorities.

Red Cross paramedics arrived to administer first aid and try to remove the nails from his hands, but Vargas did not allow them and said he will continue the protest until his case is resolved. EFE