Italians are experiencing a wave of soul searching after the assault on their prime minister — newspapers and commentators are debating if it was a result of a climate of hate towards Silvio Berlusconi.
Computer networking forums are alive with discussion asking was it down to a leftist campaign of criticism, and both Berlusconi and his alleged attacker have their respective face book supporters.
President Giorgio Napolitano has entered the fray saying: “If we really have a common sense of responsibility we must return to a normal civilised dialogue between the different political parties.
Don’t try to inflame tensions on one side by looking for easy targets and on the other by searching for conspiracy theories instead of recognising there are genuine differences.”
Meanwhile the man at the centre of it all is remaining in hospital until at least Wednesday.
Doctors say the 73-year-old lost half a litre of blood in the attack and is still complaining of sharp pains in the head and face.
Despite much criticism over the media mogul’s corruption trials and personal problems analysts say a wave of sympathy looks set to boost his political fortunes.
Images of Berlusconi’s bloodied and bruised face have been shown on television around the world.
Many viewers were shocked at the attack and some see it as a symbol of political tensions which have dangerously boiled over.