Thursday, 16 December 2010
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi survived a confidence vote as student protesters clashed with police, leaving clouds of tear gas and smoke from burning cars wafting over Rome.
“He bought some time,” said Roberto D’Alimonte, professor of politics at Luiss University in Rome. “He is still in control. He is still the master. He can choose what suits him best” -- either bringing defectors into his coalition, allying with the centrist UDC party or seeking early elections, he said.
The demonstrators hurled bottles and smoke bombs and dumped manure in the street outside Berlusconi’s residence and the Senate before charging barricades. They moved to Piazza del Popolo after the vote, where garbage and police trucks were overturned and set ablaze as firecrackers exploded. Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowds.