Hundreds of thousands of people from all over Spain have converged on Madrid for a rally called to defend traditional family values.
On the face of it, it was a religious gathering, complete with an open-air mass but, with a general election approaching, many have seen it in a broader context.
Social changes made by the Socialist government, such as legalising gay marriage, have been a constant source of friction with the Roman Catholic Church.
The Archbishop of Madrid denies organising a political demonstration.
But Antonio Maria Rouco Varela called for the family, founded on what he said was real marriage, to be once again seen as the core of society.
He said he wanted to see this reflected in public opinion, political decision-making and state legislation.
The event was marked by an intervention from Pope Benedict, in a live link from St Peter’s Square.
He defended marriage as based on the “unbreakable union of man and woman.”
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