Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the center of Rome against Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi Saturday after an Internet call for a “No Berlusconi Day.”
Most of them wore scarves, T-shirts or sweaters in various shades of violet after the group of bloggers who organized the protest chose it as the only colour not used by political parties.
The organizers claimed to have attracted 350,000 supporters from a wide spectrum of society, backed by mainly left-wing opposition parties.
One of the organizers, Gianfranco Mascia, told journalists he thought the crowds may even have passed a million.
Banners carried by the marchers calling on Berlusconi to quit referred to the prime minister’s various legal problems, including suspicions of corruption and tax fraud.
“We want Berlusconi to resign because we do not feel that he represents us,” one of the organizers, Emmanuele de Pascale, 28, told AFP.
Former minister Rosy Bindi said she took part as a “simple citizen” and not as a representative of the Democratic Party (PD).
“It is significant that a large part of the country is reacting against and getting angry at a prime minister who doesn’t want to be judged and isn’t solving problems,” she told AFP.
Antonio di Pietro, a former anti-corruption judge and now leader of the Italy of Values party, denounced “the Berlusconi government’s great electoral, political, judicial and media swindle”.
Participants ranged from film director Nanni Moretti, who condemned Berlusconi’s domination of Italian television, to ecologists opposed to a planned bridge across the Straits of Messina and immigrant defense groups.
Protesters shouted “mafioso” at effigies of the billionaire prime minister, referring to a Mafia hitman who testified at a trial in Turin that his boss alleged Berlusconi had aided organized crime.
Berlusconi has vehemently denied ties to the Mafia.
This video was published to YouTube by user farabuttocomunista on Dec. 5, 2009.