spankmypirate (spankmypirate) wrote in ontd_political,

Silvio Berlusconi left with severe headache after Milan attack

Silvio Berlusconi spent the night in hospital suffering from a severe headache after a man smashed him in the face with a statuette at a political rally in Milan.

After waking up following the attack on Sunday the Italian prime minister asked to see the newspapers and a press digest prepared for him by his office in Rome, according to his spokesman, Paolo Bonaiuti.

Just hours before he was attacked, the prime minister had discussed the "climate of violence and hate" towards him which was being fostered by some of his opponents, Mr Bonaiuti said.

Mr Berlusconi, 73, spent the night in San Raffaele hospital in Milan after being left bloodied and shocked when a man suddenly lunged at him with a statuette of the city's famous Duomo cathedral.

Doctors at the hospital are expected to issue an update on the premier's medical condition later on Monday.

The assault received blanket coverage in the Italian press, with the respected Corriere della Sera newspaper devoting its first 11 pages to the incident, including several pictures of the prime minister's blood-spattered face.

Mr Berlusconi was rushed to hospital after Massimo Tartaglia, a 42-year-old man with a decade-long history of mental problems, attacked him as he signed autographs in the middle of a crowd.

The attack, which the prime minister's bodyguards failed to stop, left him with gashes to his face, a fractured nose, two damaged teeth and a cut to the lip.

"From a clinical point of view, everything's fine, but there's a need for an observation period of one or two days," said Dr Alberto Zangrillo, head of the hospital's emergency room. The prime minister would not need an operation, he added.

Police arrested Tartaglia and charged him with aggravated assault.

He was found in possession of a crucifix and teargas, according to the Italian news agency, ANSA.

He spent the night in a one-man cell in San Vittore prison in Milan, where he was kept under observation by prison guards.

The attack was condemned on all sides of Italian politics.

It came at the end of a turbulent year for the three-time prime minister, who since April has been battling controversy in his private life and political and business affairs.

His wife, Veronica Lario, 53, is suing him for divorce, he has been accused of sleeping with a prostitute at his mansion in Rome. Mr Berlusconi has repeatedly denied paying for sexual favours.

In October Italy's highest court slapped down a law which gave him immunity from prosecution, reactivating two corruption trials.

Last week he was accused of having colluded with the mafia at the start of his political career in the early 1990s – allegations he angrily denied.

Mr Berlusconi is also trying to hold together the increasingly fractious members of his People of Freedom Party, most crucially faction leader and former fascist Gianfranco Fini, and the leader of the separatist Northern League, Umberto Bossi.

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