The 42 year old man who punched Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi in the face with a statue of Milan Cathedral on Sunday has written a letter to Mr Berlusconi apologising for his violent physical attack describing it as a “superficial and cowardly act”. Mr Massimo Tartaglia is being held in custody in Milan and a fast-track trial is expected to take place before the Christmas.
When arrested immediately after the attack in the crowded piazza police report that he was found in possession not only of the bloodied statuette but also of a 20 cm long plexiglass ‘blade’ (lama), a 30 cm crucifix and another ornament made of quartz. Mr Tartaglia has been under psychiatric treatment for some years. The latest medial bulletin reports that Mr Berlusconi will remain in hospital for injuires for a further three days at least.
The news of the attack spread quickly around the world on Sunday evening and became a ‘trending topic’ on Twitter within a few hours. Groups in support of Tartaglia quickly sprung up on the Italian Facebook although police have announced that investigations will be made and that such sites will be banned (oscurati). The event has been widely condemned in the varied Italian political world and President Giorgio Napolitano has called for an end to tensions between the parties and a return to reciprocal respect.