Three topless feminists lunged at Italy's Silvio Berlusconi as he arrived at a polling station in Milan to vote in a general election on Sunday, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
The young women from the Ukrainian women's power group Femen had the slogan "Basta Berlusconi" ("Enough With Berlusconi") scrawled on their backs.
They were quickly detained by police and dragged away screaming in a chaotic scene as ordinary people queued to vote at the school.
"Three Femen sextremists carried out an attack on the idiot Berlusconi just as he was preparing to vote," the group said on its website.
The group said he was "a dirty pervert", adding: "Italy don't vote for someone who should be in prison".
The feminists broke through a line of journalists outside the polling station and jumped over some tables toward Berlusconi but did not reach him.
The scandal-tainted Berlusconi is leading a centre-right coalition in the election and polls indicate he will come second to the centre-left.
Berlusconi is a defendant in two trials -- one for tax fraud and the other for having sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of power.
The Femen women's power group has been making headlines since 2010 for topless feminist, pro-democracy and anti-corruption protests in Russia, Ukraine and London.