The show of support comes as another crucial verdict by a criminal court nears. Berlusconi is on trial in Milan on charges he paid an underage Moroccan teen for sex during infamous ‘‘bunga-bunga’’ parties at his villa and then used his office while premier to try to cover it up. Prosecutors are set to wrap up closing arguments on Monday.
Berlusconi has denied ever paying for sex and both he and the woman, Karima el-Mahroug, better known as Ruby, deny having any sexual contact. A verdict could come later this month.
Berlusconi has been waging a publicity offensive to help his judicial case.
In an interview given to one of his media empire’s three TV networks, Canale 5, Berlusconi insisted that the dinners he used to hold at his private residences were innocent entertainment, not what prosecutors described as ‘‘bunga bunga’’ parties with young women the main guests. The interview, to be broadcast on Sunday night, lets viewers see the dining room and basement space where guests danced, Canale 5 said.
One detractor in the crowd held up a sign saying ‘‘Your orgies are numbered.’’