Hundreds of Thousands of Italians Protest Berlusconi’s Behavior Toward Women

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The protesters held creative signs.Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

Hundreds of thousands of Italians across the country today protested Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's alleged behavior toward women. The largest gathering was in Rome, where 100,000 people showed up. Prosecutors have been investigating whether the prime minister abused his power by helping a seventeen year-old girl, whom he had allegedly paid for sex, get out of jail. Berlusconi has also been promoting ex-showgirls to high government positions, and has allegedly thrown "lavish affairs that often transformed into after-dinner sex between male and female guests." The protests were organized by women's groups and publicized on the Internet. One woman explained: "We're fed up with the way women are portrayed as objects in the Italian media. Young girls are glorified by their looks. I don't want my daughter to grow up thinking that that is the only way to be." In Milan, demonstrators held banners that said, "Berlusconi, you bring us shame."

Italians Take to Streets in Frustration With Leader [NYT]
Rallies across Italy protest Berlusconi's sex scandal [CNN]