Archive for January, 2011

Resignation: the protest against Berlusconi spreads across Italy

Several protests against the Prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, are taking place in Italy.

TODAY -Thousands of women are protesting today in Milan in Piazza della Scala (watch the video – They are wearing a white scarf, a symbol of grief.

5/2 LIBERTY AND JUSTICE – On the 5th of February, the association “Liberty and Justice” – which collected 80.000 signatures for a petition for the resignation of Berlusconi  – organises a day for the Constitution from 3 pm at Palasharp (via Sant’Elia, 33 – MM Lampugnano). Among the members of the association there are Umberto Eco, Gustavo Zagrebelsky, Paul Ginsborg and Roberto Saviano.

6/2 and 12/2 PURPLE PEOPLE – The so-called “Purple people”, a group that gathers people that are against Berlusconi across Italy and abroad, is organising a march towards Berlusconi’s villa in Arcore, to ask him once again to resign. The “purples” will do sits-in around the world with the slogan “Italy is not a Republic founded on prostitution”.

13/2 – On the 13th of February, all the groups – women, “purples” and others  – will gather for sits-in and protests across Italy,  in particular in Milan and Rome. On the same day, Berlusconi himself is organising a protest against those who are investigating on him.

Against that, three journalists – Barbara Spinelli, Michele Santorio and Marco Travaglio from tv programme “Annozero” – have organised a protest outside the Court of Justice in Milan.

A third underage girl at Berlusconi’s parties. The leader of the Democratic Party: “This is a weight no longer bearable”

THE GIRL – A third  girl – after Noemi Letizia and Karima “Ruby” El Mahroug – was hanging around with Berlusconi when she was still uderage. This is the latest development of the Milan’s Prosecution Office investigation against Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi for juvenile prostitution and extortion.

The name of the girl is Iris Berardi, a brasilian born who attended Berlusconi’s parties when she was still 17 years old.

THE EVIDENCE IN THE PHONE TRACKING – The investigators  found that Iris was at Berlusconi’s villas – in Arcore and Sardinia – on the 21st of November 2009 and on the 1th of December 2009, before her 18th birthday (which was on the 28th of December 2009). The evidence of this was found in the tracking of Iris mobile phone.

This new information is included in the new folder of documents – 227 pages – sent by the Prosecution’s Office to the Parliament. This folder is an integration of the  389 pages one sent last week.

THE REACTIONS – While the situation gets every day worse for Berlusconi, his main ally, the Northern League’s leader Umberto Bossi, said today that he will stay on the Prime minister’s side.

On the other hand, the leader of the Democratic Party Pierluigi Bersani commented the news saying that “The papers sent to the Parliament certify a situation that is unbearable (…) Who, even in the centre-right, cares about the common interests should persuade Berlusconi to step back and set the Country free from a weight no longer bearable”.

THE NEW YORK TIMES – In the meanwhile, the New York Times website is hosting a debate on why the Italians keep tolerating Berlusconi’s scandals.

The Prosecution’s Office will ask for the summary procedure against Berlusconi within ten days. The bishop’s conference: “There’s a moral unease in Italy”

Silvio Berlusconi’s lawyers, Niccolò Ghedini – who is also a MP – and Piero Longo have handed in today the folder with all the defensive papers to the prosecutors in Milan.

The Prosecution’s Office have confirmed that it will forward to the magistrates within the next ten days  the request of a summary procedure against Berlusconi for extortion and juvenile prostitution. This kind of procedure is usually followed when there are substantial proofs against the defendant.

Today, the prosecutors have also interrogated for the second time in a week Nadia Macrì, a call girl that claims to have seen Berlusconi giving 5 thousand euros to Ruby during a party in April 2010.

In the meanwhile, the president of the Italian bishop’s conference, cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, said that in Italy there is “an obvious moral unease” and the people look “frightened at the actors on the public scene”.

Sexgate, Berlusconi refuses to be interrogated. “This is the final battle, if I win I will stay until 2020”. A witness: “He gave Ruby 5 thousand euros”.

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi has decided not to undergo an interrogation by the prosecutors in Milan regarding his relationship with underage Moroccan dancer Karima “Ruby” El Mahroug.

Berlusconi claims that this case does not compete the Milan Prosecutor’s Office, but that of Monza, a town near Milan.

Berlusconi declared that “This is the final battle (..) If I win, I will stay until 2020”. And added: “I will resign only in the case of an explicit vote of no confidence (…) According to the polls I still have the 50 % of preference”.

In the meanwhile, Nadia Macrì, a call girl, has been interrogated yesterday for five hours by the prosecutors, and said that during a party she saw Berlusconi giving Ruby, on the 24th of April 2010,  an envelope with 5 thousand euros in it.

Berlusconi’s supporters form a new group among the Parliament: the “responsibles”. A Taiwanese tv broadcast a 3d movie about the “bunga-bunga”

They call themselves “the responsibles”: it is a brand new group of Italian MPs that has gathered together in the last week to support the Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, accused of underage prostitution and extortion.

The “responsibles” – 21 MPs – come from different parties (former Fli, Api, Noi-Sud, and even one former PD and one former IDV), and claim to “complete the success of the majority obtained with the vote of confidence the last 14th December, and in particular makes official among the center-right the existence of a “third leg” harmonic with the government and, most important, constructive and not conflictual with it”.

The group so far includes:  Elio Belcastro, Pippo Gianni, Arturo Iannaccone, Antonio Milo, Michele Pisacane, Americo Porfidia, Antonio Razzi, Francesco Saverio Romano, Giuseppe Ruvolo e Luciano Mario Sardelli (‘Noi Sud-Pid’);   Giampiero Catone, Silvano Moffa, Catia Polidori e Maria Grazia Siliquini (formerly Fli, Fini’s group);  Francesco Pionati (Adc);  Bruno Cesario (formerly Api); Massimo Calearo (formerly Pd);  Domenico Scilipoti (formerly IDV, he also voted the confidence to Berlusconi on the 14th of December); Maurizio Grassano (formerly Northern League).

Even in the scandal, then, Berlusconi is still able to get support among the Parliament. And his main ally, Northern League’s Umberto Bossi, is getting more and more impatient to get the federalist reform approved. Today, the Cabinet of Ministers has decided to postpone of one week the decision of the reform. Many observers underlines that Bossi’s support to Berlusconi is strictly connected to the federalist reform, and if this won’t be approved, Bossi could easily withdraw his support to Berlusconi’s government, following a path similar to that of 1994, which ended the first Berlusconi’s government.

In the meantime, the Vatican and the opposition attacked Berlusconi again, asking him to explain the truth. The Vatican Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, said that “the Vatican is following with attention and particular concern what happens in Italy, fostering the awareness of a great responsibilty towards the families and the new generations (…) I believe that morality, justice and legality are crucial for a society that wants to grow and give positive answers to the problems of our time”.

The leader of the Democrats, Pierluigi Bersani, has fiercely attacked Berlusconi, asking again for his resignation: “We cannot minimise…the whole world is wondering how we can accept this”.

And the investigation goes on: today, Nadia Macrì is being interrogated by the prosecutors in Milan. The call girl yesterday confirmed during a tv news programme on the public Italian tv – Annozero – that she had sex with Berlusconi for money and saw in one occasion Ruby dancing naked during a party at Berlusconi’s villa.

In the meanwhile, the 14 girls living in a residence that belongs to Berlusconi in the outskirts of Milan have been evicted: they have 8 days to leave. The women were told that they damage the reputation of the other people living there.

And the scandal has become global: a Taiwanese tv makes fun of the story with a 3d movie.

Sexgate, Berlusconi denies all the allegations in a new video message and attacks his prosecutors. Leaked on the Internet the full 389 pages document against Berlusconi. Up to 50K pounds for a night of “bunga-bunga”

Up to 50 thousand pounds is the sum of money payed by Berlusconi for each “bunga-bunga” party: this is what emerges from the interrogations and the wiretapped conversations enclosed in the 389 pages document put together by the prosecutors in Milan. Many girls confirmed in fact that Berlusconi used to give his guests envelopes with four 500 euros banknotes. In addition, others were given jewels and others expensive gifts.

On the whole, the “bunga-bunga” ritual is estimated to have costed  Berlusconi a whopping 2,5 million euros (about 2 million pounds) per year.

Berlusconi, in the meantime, released another video message (the second in a few days) in which he claimed to be victim of a sort of conspiracy of the judges, in order to bring him down. This, said Berlusconi, “should be punished”.

On the Internet, though,  was published today the full 389 pages document with all the conversations wiretapped by the prosecutors (the same sent to the Italian Parliament, which by Tuesday will decide whether to authorise the perquisition of Berlusconi’s office). It can be downloaded, among the others, on the website of the “Popolo viola” (“Purple people”), a movement that gathers all the people in Italy and abroad who are against Berlusconi.

Berlusconi’s sex scandal, the Parliament postpones to Tuesday the decision on the perquisition of his offices. Ruby confesses on a tv show: “I was raped when I was 9”

The Italian Parliament has decided to postpone to Tuesday the decision on the perquisition of Berlusconi’s offices.

In the meantime, Ruby, the Moroccan dancer for which Berlusconi is accused of underage prostitution, appeared  on a tv show, “Kalispera” (presented on Canale 5, one of Berlusconi’s channels, by Alfonso Signorini, a journalist very closed to Berlusconi), revealing that “at 9 I suffered the first trauma of my life, I was raped by two uncles”.

During the same interview, Ruby also denied to have had sex with the Prime minister.

Yesterday, Berlusconi said that he has no intention to resign, and added: “I’m having fun of this”.

It remains difficult to say what kind of political consequences the “sexgate” could have in Italy: the Democratic Party said today that Berlusconi should resign, but at the same rejected the idea of anticipated elections.

Today, on the New York Times – which covers this story with a long article on the first page – the correspondent from Rome Rachel Donadio wrote that “it remains to be seen if the government will collapse”, underlying at the same time that “this time, with the prime minister facing possible criminal charges and with wiretaps presenting a picture of a sordid world of orgies and of blackmail by call girls, things are beginning to look different” from the scandals of the past.

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