Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi mingled with the crowd after a political rally on Sunday when suddenly an attacker struck.
The following day the nation is aghast and questions are being asked about a so- called “climate of hate”.
Amid the soul-searching many people are asking if the assault on Berlusconi was prompted by months of escalating political tension. Some are even saying the prime minister has brought it on himself.
Immediately after the attack Berlusconi attempted to reassure the crowd that he was not seriously hurt, but as he recovers in a Milan hospital from the loss of two teeth and a broken nose he will have plenty of time time to ponder the front pages.
The initial media reaction was one of shock and anger that such a brutal assault could have taken place, but the clue comes in the Corriera Della Sera headline: “Too much hate.”
As well-wishers queued up at Berluscon’s bedside,
government officials were united in their condemnation.
Senate President Renato Schifani said: “Beyond the physical pain, he is suffering because of the political hatred that has turned into a violent attack. I think political parties must get together to make a point that this escalation of violence must stop because it puts the democracy in Italy at risk.”
Berlusconi’s enemies may yet use the incident against him. The President of the opposition Democrat Party, Rosy Bindy said the prime minister should not “play the victim”.