- Title: SPAIN: Demonstrators protest the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Barcelona
- Date: 5th November 2010
- Summary: PROTESTERS HOLDING BANNERS READING "I'M NOT WAITING FOR YOU" MAN WEARING HAT READING "CLERICAL SPONGER" VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS AT DEMONSTRATION (2 SHOTS)
- Embargoed: 20th November 2010 12:00
- Location: Spain
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Religion
- Reuters ID: LVA92AR55ICCT38B1PISN1GHUOD3
- Story Text: Thousands of demonstrators gathered on Thursday (November 4) at San Jaume square in front of Catalonia Generalitat (Government of Catalonia) to protest against Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Barcelona.
The protest was called by the Secular and Progressive movement (Movimiento laico y progresista) in Catalonia but atheists, pro-gay groups and human rights campaigners joined forces in the demonstration.
The head of the Secular and Progressive movement, Jouffre Villanueva, said that they were not against the visit of the Pope but against of the official nature of the event.
"We argue that the Pope of Rome can come to Barcelona as often as he likes but we also argue that institutions should be indifferent or neutral to this event. What hurts us is to watch public authorities attending to these religious services of a single religion in this case. And this is what we denounce, because it violates the principle of neutrality of the institutions," he said.
Many opposed the Vatican's stance on abortion, gay rights and resistance to the use of condoms in the fight against HIV-AIDS.
Member of the Gay and Lesbian coordinating committee Antonio Guirado said that the Vatican city-state is the only non-democratic state in Europe.
"Benedict XVI is the head of a State. The Vatican State is the only non-democratic state in Europe and it also attempts to influence the internal affairs of our country, which only are decided in the parliament," he said.
The Holy Father will arrive in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, on Saturday (November 6) to celebrate a Mass in the city's Jubilee Year.
On Sunday (November 7) Benedict XVI will consecrate Barcelona's most famous landmark, Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) church.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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