Berlusconi's judiciary battle takes to public stage outside Milan courthouse (2)

16:24, April 12, 2011      

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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi addresses supporters outside the Milan courthouse after a legal hearing over fraud allegations involving his Mediaset business empire, April 11, 2011. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

Then he used a break in proceedings to speak through a microphone to flag-waving supporters outside the courthouse. "I passed a surreal morning, which was a waste of time and resources, all for nothing. There is no proof or testimony that supports the prosecutors' thesis,"he said.

He complained an "incredible amount of mud" had been slung against him. "I thank you all for the faith and support you give me, which I assure that I fully deserve," he told his fans, many of which came from different regions of Italy.

"I woke up at 4:30 in the morning to come here. I am 55 years old and this is the very first time in my life that I take part in a demonstration, as I cannot stand anymore to see Italians so busy persecuting Berlusconi instead of facing the many real problems of the country," a supporter said.

The 74-year-old prime minister has recently announced he will attend court hearings because they will give him an opportunity to defend himself in front of Italians, but his opponents say he is using the courts as a stage to present himself as a victim and mount an offensive against the judiciary.

"All Italians are paying the cost of these shows in terms of paralysis in everything. I think Berlusconi should be simply processed as a normal citizen," a lawyer named Alba Sarto told Xinhua.

In a letter sent after the hearing to all judges in Milan, presidents of the courthouse Livia Pomodoro and Giuseppe Tarantola noted that "the situation of demonstrations outside the courthouse is annoying all of us and it is an evident impediment to the normal judiciary activities".

"We intend to complain to the competent authorities in order to avoid disturbance to those who visit the courthouse every day, and of course to ensure the dignity to those who administer justice," they said in the letter.

Source: Xinhua

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