Thousands of protestors gathered in London yesterday for a demonstration against the State visit by Pope Benedict XVI.
Thousands of protestors gathered in London yesterday for a demonstration against the State visit by Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope has been conducting a controversial State visit in the UK over the weekend but on the eve of his visit one of his closest advisors criticised the UK and called it a “third world country”. The Pope himself has also sparked some controversy during the course of his visit by comparing secularism and atheism to Fascism.
Yesterday over 20,000 protestors gathered in Central London to protest against the state visit by the head of the Catholic Church. The protestors ranged from humanists/atheists to gay rights campaigners, sexual health campaigners, women rights campaigners and others who have issues with the teachings of the Pope and his Church. Notable protestors included Richard Dawkins – author of The God Delusion – and equal rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
A multitude of banners attacking the Pope on various issues such as his anti-contraception stance were part of the protest. The Pope sparked anger amongst some when he ludicrously claimed that wide-spread use of Condoms would actually make the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa worse. The Pope also claimed that gay marriage was a threat to society and homosexuality a threat to the survival of the human race – these views have not made the Pope popular but not just in the UK but also around the world. The abuse scandals within the Catholic Church also continue to rock it with allegations that Pope Benedict XVI may have covered up some cases.
The State Visit by Pope Benedict XVI has also proved to be a tricky issue for the Con-Dem coalition because of the costs involved. The overall cost of the State Visit is expected to reach millions of pounds and the Government has had a hard time justifying such expense when it is conducting such savage cuts in other areas. Critics argue that an organisation such as the UK Film Council (scrapped by the coalition over the Summer) which contributes millions to the economy through its support of the film industry is a better use of money than a one-off visit by a controversial figure.