Riots break out in Rome as Berlusconi wins vote

Demonstrators hold flares as they march past the ancient Colosseum in downtown Rome, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2010. Premier Silvio Berlusconi survived a confidence vote in Italy's Senate on Tuesday, but another riskier vote followed in the lower house, where a few swing lawmakers will determine his political fate. The votes were being held in a tense climate, with Rome's historic center, where parliament buildings and the premier's office are located, under a heavy police presence. Scores of anti-Berlusconi demonstrations were under way in cities across the country to coincide with the votes. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

December 14, 2010 8:18:00 AM PST
Violent protests have erupted in Rome after Premier Silvio Berlusconi won back-to-back confidence votes in parliament, narrowly surviving one of his toughest political challenges yet. Riot police had to use tear gas to try to stop angry demonstrators from torching cars, smashing windows and clashing with police.

Inside parliament's lower house, tensions boiled over as lawmakers pushed and shoved each other, forcing a brief suspension in the voting.

Ultimately, Berlusconi survived the lower house's no-confidence motion by just three votes. He had secured a more comfortable victory in a confidence vote at the Senate earlier in the day.