Hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets across Italy on Sunday to demand better treatment for women, days after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi came under investigation for engaging in prostitution with a minor.
The nationwide protest followed the filing of a request by prosecutors Wednesday for Berlusconi to stand trial for allegedly paying a 17-year-old girl for sex and abusing power in trying to cover it up. The event was organized by a nonpartisan women's group whose members describe themselves on their Facebook page as "neither desperate, nor housewives," according to Washington Post.
Protests were held in Milan, Genoa, Naples and Bari but the largest was in Rome where thousands packed into the Piazza del Popolo which two months ago had been the scene of violent riots after Berlusconi won a confidence vote.
Demonstrators, including prostitutes and nuns, carried banners saying: "Berlusconi resign now" while another said "No prostitutes, no Madonnas, just women."
Mr Berlusconi was said to have watched the rally on TV but made no public comment.
Mariastella Gelmini, the education minister, said: "It's just a small protest from trendy radical chics," while another minister Daniele Santanche said: "It's a shame there is so much hatred towards one man," Telegraph.co.uk reports.