An inquiry into Berlusconi's alleged liaisons with prostitutes continues to dominate the Italian press [Reuters]

Clashes have broken out between police and hundreds of demonstrators staging fresh protests against Italy's scandal-plagued prime minister Silvio Berlusconi outside his villa, local media reported.

"Resign, resign!" the protesters shouted at the gates of Berlusconi's private villa in the Milan suburb of Arcore on Sunday, where he was spending the weekend.

Hundreds of protesters tried to break a security cordon erected several hundred metres from Berlusconi's residence, sparking clashes with riot police whom they pelted with bottles and other objects.

A banner demanded "Prostitutes out of the state," in an apparent reference to allegations that Berlusconi had paid for sex with prostitutes at wild parties in the mansion - allegations the prime minister has denied.

Anti-Berlusconi rally

At least two people have been arrested throughout Italy in a crackdown against anti-Berlusconi protests, police said.

The arrests came as police clashed with protesters in front of Arcore's train station with several officers, demonstrators and a journalist injured.

The protests were organised by the "Purple People" an anti-Berlusconi group on the Internet which previously held a "No Berlusconi Day" in 2009.

Judges are set to request this week that Berlusconi stand trial, while the 74-year-old has remained defiant, vowing to stay in office.

The inquiry into Berlusconi's alleged liaisons with prostitutes was first reported last month and has dominated Italian newspapers since then.

Cyber attacks

On Saturday, thousands of people gathered in Milan in another anti-Berlusconi demonstration that included prominent writers Umberto Eco and Roberto Saviano.

In a separate development, a group of online activists known as "Anonymous" launched attacks throughout Sunday against the Italian government's website, citing political grievances, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

"Anonymous" announced its assaults earlier in the day, saying they were launched because "the political and economic situation in Italy has become unstable".

In particular, the group attacked the judiciary system and government, which it said was "implicated in prostitution, including minors," an apparent reference to the sex scandal dogging Berlusconi.

Source: Agencies