SANTIAGO – About 20 people were arrested Tuesday when police broke up demonstrations against Pope Francis’s visit to Chile, officials said.
Nearly 250 people joined the unauthorized demonstration and protesters attempted to march the 20 blocks to O’Higgins Park, where more than 400,000 people were expected to attend the first Mass celebrated by the pontiff during his official visit.
Protesters carried banners that said “Pope: We, the poor, get crumbs from this democracy” and “He cannot bring peace who is complicit in abetting a rapist.”
Ahead of the pope’s arrival, an organization that tracks child abuse in the Catholic Church released a list of 80 priests, other clergymen and a nun accused of sexually abusing children in the South American country.
In the southern diocese of Osorno, meanwhile, protesters called for Archbishop Juan Barros to resign for allegedly participating in the cover-up of child abuse committed by pedophile priest Fernando Karadima.
“We disagree with the pope’s visit, which represents spending millions of pesos on an official visit when there are so many poor people in the country,” one of the protesters said.
The demonstration against Pope Francis’s visit was organized by leftist groups.