Pictures showed Mr Berlusconi, 73, with a badly cut lip and blood on his cheek and chin. A man has been arrested. The prime minister, looking dazed, was helped to his feet by aides and put in a car. He got out and tried to climb on the car to show he was all right. Reports suggested he had either been punched or hit with an object.
He was taken to a hospital in Milan after the attack. The Italian news agency Ansa said he was to stay under observation for 24 hours, but there was no immediate report on the extent of his injuries.
Mr Berlusconi had been greeting supporters in a square in Milan when the assault took place. According to Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, a small group of protesters were shouting slogans and whistling during the rally. There were reported to have been scuffles between the hecklers and security staff. During the gathering he told supporters: “They paint me as a monster, but I don’t think I am one – firstly because I am good-looking and secondly because I’m a decent chap”. Mr Berlusconi has been under pressure in recent months.
His private life has been in the spotlight, amid allegations that he slept with prostitutes, and after his wife filed for divorce. He has dismissed accusations of ties to the Mafia, and criminal cases against him have resumed after a law giving him immunity was overturned. A week ago tens of thousands of people attended an anti-Berlusconi rally in Rome
PS – this Youtube clip about this man’s attitudes towards women may well explain why