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For two weeks, Italians have been in the grip of two major news stories. The first is the European financial crisis and how it is affecting their economic destiny. But the crisis has now become a sideshow to the final demise of Prime Minister Silivo Berlusconi’s government. The man who kept Italy’s citizens on the edge of their seats with each new scandal, whether sex or corruption, and brought them to the brink of financial ruin as the longest-serving Prime Minister since World War II was finally forced to step down.
On Saturday night, instead of heading to the movies, Italians went to wait outside the presidential palace and watch Berlusconi take his final steps as prime minister: Handing in his resignation to the president of Italy. It was a long-awaited moment in recent Italian history. Between chants of "Prison, prison" or the ever popular "Va fanculo"—fuck you!—revelers passed Champagne and sang "Avanti Popolo," a famous song of the Italian labor movement. Soon, a spontaneous march began from the palace to Berlusconi’s residence, where enough merry was made to keep him up all night—a measure of fitting revenge on the notoriously libertine politician.
The Italians may have their problems to deal with in the morning, but on Saturday night, they gave Berlusconi the send off he deserved.
Demonstrators join in a spontaneous march through the streets of Rome to Berlusconi's residence.
A demonstrator's sign, translated: "Berlusconi, you are a pig."