It was a pretty vicious shot for a bar-room brawl, let alone for a Prime Minister surrounded by security men. Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s controversy-ridden Prime Minister, is going to spend a second night in hospital after a man assaulted him, breaking his nose and two teeth when he was greeting crowds in Milan.
His attacker, Massimo Tartaglia, allegedly has a history of mental problems. He is being hailed as a hero by the part of Italian society which detests its leader. Check out how many people have posted on this fan page for him on Facebook.
Silvio Berlusconi is a very divisive figure in Italy. In the last year he has been embroiled in alleged scandals involving call girls, and two separate court cases involving corruption and alleged mafia links. Mr Berlusconi denies all impropriety.
His opponents accuse him of controlling Italian media and stifling any criticism of him. Even his spokesman admitted there has been a “buildup of hatred” towards him. Some people in Italy say they feel the country is now so divided by its leader feels like an echo of the extremist violence that plagued the country in the 1970s.
A leading opposition politician accused Berlusconi a few days ago of “inciting citizens to violence against himself” with his alleged avoidance of his pending anti-corruption trials. Since the attack Antonia Di Pietro has said that he doesn’t approve of violence, but that he “shares the complaints of those citizens who are disappointed with the Prime Minister.”
But no matter how much you dislike a politician, is there ever an excuse to assault a 73 year old man?
Do you feel sorry for Silvio Berlusconi? Or is he getting none of your sympathy?