Hundreds of protestors against the Pope’s visit to Spain clashed with police in Madrid last night. Streets leading to the Puerta Del Sol were cordoned off by riot police and the disturbances ended in 8 arrests and 11 injured.
The protest organized under the slogan ‘I don’t want to my taxrs paying for the Pope’ ended in chaos when protestors arrived in the centre of Madrid where young Catholics taking part in a ‘World Youth Day’ organized by the Vatican were meeting. Over a million young catholics from all over the world are expected in the Spanish capital in order to welcome Pope Benedict XVI to Spain.
The international meeting of young catholics led to a number of streets being cordoned off by the authorities. The atmosphere amongst the pilgrims was more like a summer party than a religous meeting. Spontaneous cries of ‘long live Benedict’ could be heard coming from his enthusiastic young supporters.
However, trouble began when demonstrators and pilgrims crossed paths in the centre of Madrid and were only separated by a police cordon and the two groups began shouting at eachother.
Whilst the pilgrims shouted slogans in favour of the Pope the protestors shouted back accusing him of being a Nazi.
The protestors were angry about the estimated cost of the Catholic World Youth Day and the Pope’s visit to Spain which is estimated to be around 50 million euros and which will be paid for out of public funds during a time of widespread cuts and high youth unemployment in Spain.
Later today same sex couples are planning a demonstration during which they will kiss when the Pope drives past in protest against his views on homosexuality.