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 Silvio" ("Enough With Silvio") scrawled on their backs and fronts.
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: "Italy, don't vote for someone who should be in prison".
Berlusconi said the action was "an exaggeration", adding: "Whoever thinks intelligently and with their brain can vote only for one side."
The feminists carried journalistic accreditations and broke through a line of journalists outside the polling station, jumping 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.