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Demonstrators protest high cost of Pope’s Madrid visit

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Aug 21, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI headed to Madrid on Thursday for a million-strong Catholic youth festival after Spanish riot police swung batons in clashes with anti-Church protesters over the cost of the visit.

Benedict flew out of Rome around 9:30 am (0730 GMT), hours after thousands took to the streets of Spain’s capital to decry the official 50 million euro bill for the six-day World Youth Day festival at a time of economic hardship.

After an official greeting in Madrid-Barajas airport he will enter the city driving through the streets in his transparent popemobile to the Vatican ambassador’s residence, chased by pilgrims running a relay race.

In the evening, the papal cortege heads to the emblematic Plaza Cibeles in central Madrid for a welcoming ceremony. The Spanish air force will fly over, drawing the colours of the Vatican and Spanish flags in the sky.

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This article was posted: Sunday, August 21, 2011 at 6:00 am

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