Sunday, 21 August 2011


These Reuters reports (here and here) give some indication of the size and nature of the protests in Madrid that accompanied the visit of Pope Benedict XVI and World Youth Day pilgrims to the city.

If the captions to the photographs are accurate to the events that are portrayed, they suggest seriously intolerant behaviour towards pilgrims from some of the protesters. Whether, as one of the comments in the video coverage here suggests, the police made a mistake in allowing protesters and pilgrims to meet in the way that they did, or the events display a genuine level of intolerance towards the pilgrims, the scenes in Madrid are in sharp contrast to those in London during the Saturday of Pope Benedict's visit to the UK last September. Then, anti-Papal protesters marched in the afternoon in streets only minutes away from the venue of the evening vigil in Hyde Park, mingling to some extent with pilgrims arriving for the vigil. The same day, some 80 000 pilgrims made their way to Hyde Park and others lined the Mall - all without any harrassment from the protesters.

There have been protests at previous Papal visits, but not with the bitterness that seems to have characterised those in Madrid. Will this mark a step change in the level of protest that can be expected in the future?

H/T Annie Elizabeth

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