Devoted supporter starts Berlusconi 'army'

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Screen shot of the website 'Esercito della Liberta'
10:23 CEST+02:00
As a defendant in two trials, Silvio Berlusconi is fighting criticism both at home and abroad. But on Tuesday a zealous supporter launched a fan website inviting young Italians to join a virtual “army” in support of the ex-prime minister.

Founded by Italian entrepreneur Simone Furlan, the website is called ‘L’Esercito della Liberta’ ('Army of Liberty'), a reference to Berlusconi’s party the ‘Popolo della Libertà’ (People of Freedom).

In order to join, supporters must send “a photo of themselves and a brief description of why they love Silvio”, reports Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano.

“I declare that I want to join Silvio’s army to defend President Berlusconi and fight by his side in the ‘Twenty-year war’”, reads one of the descriptions quoted by the paper, a reference to Berlusconi’s 20-year battle with the law and mounting criticism – both internal and from abroad. The supporter adds that he recognizes himself in Berlusconi’s “way of thinking, in his ideals and in his works”.

“We in civilized society have been defenceless spectators of the ‘Twenty-year war’ that witnessed Silvio Berlusconi fight and defend himself from ignominious accusations of every kind, the result of an unprecedented judicial harassment”, writes Furlan, the site’s founder.

Included on the site is a video (below) about Berlusconi’s life and a biography entitled “The extraordinary life of Silvio Berlusconi”, a selective history of his life which includes his star sign and an account of his school days.

“His former classmates remember how Berlusconi would do his homework in a flash before helping those sitting next to him and how he would share toys, sweets and snacks. His entrepreneurial spirit was innate,” it reads.

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Despite being widely ridiculed abroad, Berlusconi still maintains core support in Italy and won a third of the vote in February’s general election. In particular, his promises to cut taxes have earned him support from crisis-hit families and businesses.

He is currently a defendant in two trials - one for allegedly having sex with an underage prostitute and the other for tax fraud.

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