ROME — Premier Silvio Berlusconi is in pain and will remain hospitalized until at least Tuesday with a fractured nose and two broken teeth from an attack by a mentally disturbed man who hit him in the face with a statuette, doctors and aides said.
The attack shocked Italy, already gripped by a tense political climate and highly polarized between Berlusconi’s supporters and his critics.
It also raised questions about the security surrounding the premier. A government official said he expected the premier’s protection to be tightened, as security officials held an emergency meeting.
The 73-year-old Berlusconi was rushed to the San Raffaele hospital in Milan with his face covered in blood after the attack in the northern Italian city Sunday afternoon.
TV footage showed that the assailant had come close to Berlusconi and hurled a souvenir statue of Milan’s Duomo, the Gothic cathedral that is a symbol of the city, hitting him in the face. Italian newspapers say the statuette was made of metal.
The attacker, a 42-year-old man with a history of psychological problems, has been arrested.
After a night of questioning at a police barracks, the man was moved to the San Vittore prison in Milan, the ANSA news agency said.
Police have identified him as Massimo Tartaglia.