Thousands Attend Anti-Berlusconi Rally

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MILAN (AP) - Thousands of people have attended a rally to demand Premier Silvio Berlusconi's resignation following allegations he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl and used his office to cover it up.

Some of Italy's notable left-leaning intellectuals, including Umberto Eco and anti-mafia author Roberto Saviano, as well as union leaders and others, addressed the crowd at a Milan sports stadium. Organizers said more than 100,000 people had signed a petition calling for Berlusconi to resign.

The 74-year-old Berlusconi has rejected such calls and insisted again Saturday that early elections would do "grave damage" to the country as it tries to emerge from the recession.

The premier has denied he paid for sex and accused prosecutors of seeking to drive him from office.
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