Monday, December 14, 2009

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi 'loses teeth' after rally attack

TALIAN Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was rushed to hospital covered in blood with a broken nose and teeth after a man with mental problems hurled a statuette at him at a rally, officials said today.

Mr Berlusconi was bundled into a car, with blood spattered over his face, and rushed to hospital after the assault.
The media mogul had just ended a speech to thousands of supporters in a square behind the cathedral in the northern city of Milan.
The 73-year-old Prime Minister said "I'm fine, I'm fine" as he arrived at the hospital, the Ansa news agency said.
His personal doctor, Alberto Zangrillo, said the premier had suffered a fractured nose, two broken teeth and cuts to his lips that required stitches.
He said Mr Berlusconi would be kept in overnight for observation and would need up to 15 days to recover.
"This is truly a bad day for Italy, and it's the duty of all the political forces to ensure that Italy does not go back to the years of violence," said Gianfranco Fini, Mr Berlusconi's top conservative ally, one of many to denounce the incident.

A 42-year-old man who has been under treatment for mental problems for 10 years was detained for throwing a souvenir plaster statuette of the cathedral at Mr Berlusconi from close range, police said.
The incident triggered an outpouring of solidarity for Mr Berlusconi from allies and critics alike, just as the Prime Minister seeks to regain political momentum after a bruising year battling mounting legal troubles and sex scandals.
The billionaire businessman has portrayed himself as a victim of "communist" magistrates, biased media and jealous leftists.
Mr Berlusconi's spokesman said the premier had confided his fears of a "climate of hate and aggression" against him as they travelled together to the rally.
"What they've done to Mr Berlusconi is an act of terrorism," Umberto Bossi, head of the far-right Northern League and a close Mr Berlusconi ally, told Ansa. "An oppressive climate has been felt for some time and what's happened today is a worrying sign."
A number of ministers and supporters gathered at the Milan hospital where Mr Berlusconi was spending the night.
The attack came after a speech that had been billed as politically significant.
Mr Berlusconi launched a familiar tirade against the left and rattled off a list of government achievements, in a characteristically feisty performance aimed at shoring up his standing and ratings, but revealed no shifts in strategy.
After a summer dodging accusations of an improper relationship with a teenager and parties with escorts, Mr Berlusconi has come under pressure lately from a widening rift with Mr Fini and a growing list of legal headaches.
Stripped of immunity from prosecution, Mr Berlusconi faces several trials, including one on charges of bribery and corruption and another on charges of tax fraud.
An opinion poll published on Saturday indicated his popularity had fallen four percentage points to just over 50 percent as Italians fretted that his legal entanglements could distract him from government duties.
He denies any wrongdoing and says judicial allegations against him are part of a politically-motivated campaign by biased courts and judges to bring down his government.
In 2004, an Italian bricklayer hurled a camera tripod at Mr Berlusconi, injuring him slightly on the head.


Anonymous said...

This whole incident must have been scary for Berlusconi; at the same time, he should probably feel lucky - it could have been a lot worse

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