ROME – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is eating with difficulty and will remain hospitalized at least one more day, after he was attacked in the face by a man holding a statuette at a Milan rally.
The medical bulletin issued Monday by the San Raffaele hospital in Milan confirmed that Berlusconi suffered a broken nose and two broken teeth. It said Berlusconi is taking antibiotics and painkillers as the pain is "persistent."
Doctor Alberto Zangrillo said surgery will not be necessary. He said that Berlusconi will remain hospitalized at least until Tuesday.
Berlusconi was hit by the man hurling a statuette at him as he was signing autographs at the rally. The 73-year-old leader was rushed to the hospital with blood under his nose, on his mouth and under one eye. He suffered a fractured nose, two broken teeth and a lip injury, spokesman Paulo Klun said.
Berlusconi met with close aides at the hospital Monday morning but still had a headache. The leader asked to see newspapers after waking up in the hospital.
"He appeared to spend the night well," Klun said. "He has a bit of a headache now."
A banner on the walls of the hospital wished the premier a swift recovery, saying "True Italians are always with you." Next to it was an Italian flag.
The attacker, a 42-year-old man with a history of psychological problems, has been arrested.
After a night of questioning at a police barracks, the suspect was moved to the San Vittore prison in Milan, the ANSA news agency said. Police have identified him as Massimo Tartaglia.
Berlusconi is entangled in a sex scandal and faces criminal trials in Milan after an immunity law was overturned earlier this year. He has faced protests, with tens of thousands marching in Rome on Dec. 5 to demand his resignation.
Berlusconi himself has launched vehement attacks at the judiciary, saying the magistrates who put him on trial are politically motivated.
Berlusconi's personal physician said Berlusconi was shocked and did not immediately realize how violently he had been struck.
"Staring at his bloodied hand, he told me: 'There's a climate of hatred, I expected this would happen,"' Alberto Zangrillo was quoted as saying by Corriere della Sera, Italy's leading newspaper.
Meanwhile, security officials were meeting in Milan to review what had happened and take possible measures. The undersecretary to the Interior Ministry, Alfredo Mantovano, told ANSA ahead of the meeting that he expected security measures to be tightened.