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Around 150 MPs from the centre-right People of Freedom Party (PDL) marched into a Milan court to protest against what they see as the “judicial persecution” against their leader Silvio Berlusconi. The demonstrators called on Italian President Giorgio Napolitano to halt the ongoing prosecutions against the former prime minister.

On March 7 Berlusconi was sentenced to one year in prison for publishing confidential material, however he is unlikely to serve any time as the statute of limitations on the case is about to expire.

He separately faces charges of sex with an underage prostitute, while a former senator recently admitted taking a €2m bribe to leave the centre-left governing coalition in 2007, triggering the fall of the Romano Prodi government.

The speaker of Beppe Grillo’s M5S announced that his party, as well as Democratic Party, would vote to authorise Berlusconi’s arrest if necessary.