Protesters unhappy with the Pope’s visit to Spain were out in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square on Thursday evening. Furious at the cost of hosting the Pontiff, they traded insults with pilgrims happy to see Benedict XVI in the city as it marks World Youth Day.
Police had earlier blocked off the square and used vans to hem in the demonstrators. Later, police dispersed the protesters, chasing them and hitting them with batons. Eight people were arrested.
Another eight were injured in clashes between pilgrims and protesters, according to police and the emergency services.
Earlier, another demonstration was foiled, preventing 100 gay men and lesbians from carrying out their plan to kiss along the route the Pope was due to travel on. Blocked by the authorities, they locked lips at another location instead.