After the Supreme Court upheld former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conviction and sentenced him to one year of house arrest for tax fraud, his side’s controversial statements about a “civil war” to come have sparked concern that his party’s demonstration in Rome on Sunday could signify the end of Italy’s political stability.

He vowed to “fight on” and urged his followers to resist the “terrible power” of the Italian judiciary but stopped short of withdrawing from the coalition with the Democratic Party, saying “the government shall go on”, Corriere reports.

According to most commentators, Il Cavaliere – who may lose this title with the conviction – is hoping for a compromise that will allow him run in the next election. However, if that fails, he is preparing to trigger a political crisis and force snap polls in October.