Silvio Berlusconi was convicted of sex with an underaged prostitute on Monday, and while many Italians celebrated the news, some of his most fervent supporters are not taking the decision lying down -- or are they?
The Guardian reports that following the announcement of the former prime minister's seven-year prison sentence and lifetime ban from public office, a group of pro-Berlusconi demonstrators rallied in central Rome on Tuesday under the banner, "Siamo tutti puttane," or "We are all whores."
According to Italian news agency AKI, the protesters were led by Giuliano Ferrara, editor of conservative newspaper Il Foglio, who denounced what he perceives as the "puritanical injustice" of the courts.
"This is a shameful sentence that hurts Italian justice and lowers it to the level of that in Afghanistan or Iran," Ferrara wrote in a front-page editorial in Il Foglio, according to a translation by AKI.
As seen in the video above, the spectacle included Ferrara applying lipstick on stage, presumably to demonstrate his whoredom, and the on-the-nose song choice of the Rolling Stone classic, Ruby Tuesday -- a nod to Karima el-Mahroug, the woman at the center of the controversy.
In recent months, some of Berlusconi's supporters have dismissed the prostitution and coverup case as merely part of an agenda by his left-leaning political opponents. Last month, thousands turned out to an "Everyone for Silvio" rally in which Berlusconi condemned the "politicized magistrates blinded by prejudice and hatred," the Associated Press reported at the time.
Berlusconi's critics, however, don't need to look too far for additional ammunition against the disgraced politician. Since entering public office in 1994, Berlusconi has been sentenced to 18 years in prison as a result of different trials, and is currently embroiled in five additional cases pending judicial review.