Thousands protest Pope’s visit to SpainBy DPA, IANS
Thursday, November 4, 2010
BARCELONA - Thousands of people demonstrated Thursday against the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Spain, demanding a clear separation between church and state.
Carrying signs with slogans against the Roman Catholic Church’s child molestation scandals and its ban on condoms, demonstrators gathered at a central square in Barcelona, the second stop of the pope’s two-day visit.
After arriving Saturday in Spain, the pontiff is scheduled to celebrate a mass at the pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela before heading to Barcelona, where he will consecrate the Sagrada Familia Basilica Sunday.
Demonstrators criticized what they described as the high cost of Benedict’s visit, saying it should not be financed from public coffers.
The rally was called by a platform called “I do not wait for you,” which groups some 60 leftist, secularist, feminist, environmentalist and other associations.
Some of the protestors had taped their mouths shut to allege a lack of freedom of speech within the Catholic hierarchy. Police estimated the rally at at 2,500 demonstrators.
More protests are planned during the papal visit, including a gay kissing event in Barcelona.